Chadni Chowk, Old Delhi
'People always asked me, where is my Anjali... everytime i told them my name'.
I chuckled as listening to Rahul, a stranger that suddenly became our tour guide that morning, as he introduced himself. He was trying to relate his name to the characters of the famous lovebirds of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
If my memory served me right, Rahul came into the picture as Syib was making the arrangement to Khari Baoli, with the auto-rickshaws owners that were parked along the busy the street of Chadni Chowk that morning. Rahul became the hero of the day as apparently he spoke English, fluently and became the mediator between us and the owners.
An agreement finally reached, and I was told to ride on one of the auto-rickshaws accross the road. But i was puzzled as i realized there was 5 of us walking towards the same vehicle, and decided to turn back and ask. But then, there was no one left behind...and i turned back towards the group in front, they were already went missing. i couldn't believe my eyes, as how fast the busy street of Chadni Chowk playing its trick on me. for a while, i was thinking that i could ended up walking back to Karim or the hotel if i couldn't find them.
but then i heard somebody called me, and i saw them, trying to fill up one of the auto-rickshaws at the side of the street. i asked Syib, how many did we hire for the ride..and he told me ' two!' ..and two autorickshaw for 11 of us! i had to squeeze in at the back of the vehicle ( 4 of us at the back!!!!)...as apparently Rahul was joining us to the spice market too.
ok. let us count now...
auto-rickshaw 1 - the driver, syib, kak nida, kak ros, mahani and hidayah.
auto-rickshaw 2 - the driver, me, madan, fariz, aniq, fauzi and Rahul
giler aper? huhuhu. craziest ride ever...and even though the distance was just around the corner, but the busy traffic of Chadni Chowk made it like the longest ever ride..especially for me as i had my back facing the street. i shouted at Rahul...how many passengers that the auto-rickshaw could take or permitted to take? he just laughed and said 'Seven!'.
at one point my hand was hardly hit by other vehicle, but luckily nothing bad happened, other than pain...that i had to bear for a while. i pull my hand and tried to position myself safely after that incident, while the vehicle was still moving.
i was so relieved as the auto-rickshaw finally made it to the Khari Baoli. i think everybody did, as seeing their faces while stepping out from the vehicle. Rahul insisted to guide us around, but Syib told him that it'd be a while, as we'd be wandering and taking photos etc. We thought of paying him first, but he said he could ask the driver to wait etc. we were ok with that.
we left him and started to explore Khari Baoli - the home to the largest wholesale spice market in Asia ...