Come Ramzan and the areas in and around the historic monument seldom sleep
It is half past midnight and Adil Qureshi decides to buy a pair of clothes for himself. His wife, Urooj, too, wants to indulge in a bit of shopping. No, it never occurs to them that at this unearthly hour no shop will be open. They simply head to Charminar where the clock has stopped ticking.
Yes, these days the areas in and around the historic monument seldom sleep. The government’s concept of a night bazaar is still a far cry but in the old city it is a reality during Ramzan. Traffic jams are the first sign of the maddening frenzy that Ramzan shopping has come to symbolise. With ‘Id’ less than a fortnight away the stretch between Patharghatti-Charminar is teeming with shoppers. And with each passing day the crowds only swell.
Though shopping malls have come up all over, many Muslims traditionally visit Charminar for Id shopping. Call it the ambience, variety or pricing – the old city seems to exercise a magnetic pull. “I can never think of ‘Id’ shopping anywhere else”, says Shakir Husain, who has moved from Moghalpura to Banjara Hills.
Same is the case with most. The fact is one wants to simply revel in the festive mood here. The leisurely pace and the sheer variety of goods on display is another factor. Just stand back and watch and you will detect the difference in shopping here and elsewhere. “Women take their own time to pick up sarees and salwar suits and we don’t rush them,” says Azeem, a cloth merchant. Many families like to mix business with pleasure. They shop a little and then drop in a haleem joint for a mouthful. Refreshed, they come back for more shopping. This commercial hub sees frantic business during the day. But as the evening draws near the maddening crowd melts away for ‘Iftar’. The ‘Maghrib’ prayer and dinner over, they return rejuvenated.
What do people shop for? Not just clothes they also go for household articles like crockery, curtains, imitation jewellery, perfume and dry fruits. The ‘Rainbow shopping fest’ at Minar Garden near Nayapul is also a big hit. It provides a unique experience with food court and amusement rides. Some garment stores are also holding draws with tickets to Dubai for the lucky couple. Cashing in on the midnight frenzy, Pista House has made arrangements for ‘Sahr’, the pre dawn meal. It has lined up a mouth-watering menu – ‘shahi nalli’, ‘bhaji-gurda’, ‘gurda fry’, ‘dal-chawal’. All for Rs. 120. Most families who shop till the wee hours prefer to finish the ‘sahr’ in some restaurant before heading home.