The waft of deep-fried kheema samosas is tinged with the fragrance of attar, bursting through the festivity of Modi Road in D.J. Halli.
The stretch is buzzing in the evening at Iftar, as people make their way to prayers and of course, to break their fast with local delicacies.
Indeed, visitors are spoiled for choice — samosas, vadas, bajjis, kebabs, haleem, biryani, seviyan, badushah and gulab jamoon stalls dot the street.
The Ramzan month is a good time for business here. In fact, say traders, income from the month sustains them for a good part of the year.
“Fifty per cent of my annual business is completed in the month of Ramzan. Vendors like me wait for this festival,” says Abdul Mujeed, who has a stall right outside the mosque, selling a variety of items such as attar, religious texts, prayer caps and handkerchiefs.
The food stalls do especially well. “All through the year, I keep my shop open till 9 p.m. But during Ramzan, all my snacks are over by around 7 p.m.,” says Riyaz Ahmed. His snacks, temptingly prized between Rs. 2 and Rs. 6, are hot favourites.
His neighbour, M.D. Asar Ali (20), has sold 25 kg of doodh ki semiya in just two days. Mr. Ali, who is from Bihar, says he brought 200 kg of the sweet — in orange, yellow, white and brown colours — from his home State.
In fact, this isn’t even his usual job. “Through the year, I work as a construction labourer. This year, for the first time, I decided to set up a sweet shop. It will help me earn better,” he says.
It helps them that for customers, this is the season to splurge. Mubeena Begum, having just finished shopping for clothes, says, “We can cut our expenditure during other months of the year. But during this season, we ensure that we do not compromise on anything..”
And what goes around, comes around. As 12-year-old Tasmiya A. comes to his stall to grab a copy of the Quran, Mr. Mujeed’s face lights up. “This is just the beginning. My stall will get more crowded in the afternoon and if I am able to do good business today, I will buy some expensive sweets for my family tonight.”