For every mall that comes up, there is a Mangal Bazaar!
Time stands still in the king’s presence – they say and I feel. So out of just a wild idea, I thought I will just take a tour of the place that is more colorful and brighter than any other area in the city. The moment my car turned towards Kirti Mandir, pelting at a nice speed past Aradhna talkies, I told me – “Well, Mangal Bazaar! Here I come!”
Time stops the moment the roads become narrow and the buildings come as close as brothers. Time stops when in one lane you get minimum fifty shops narrowly cramped but each explicit with their wares. Time stops when the ruined and dilapidated buildings are still standing tall – at one point in this bustling city of Vadodara which has come so many miles forward in time, Time does stop.
I got lucky to take a walk in the narrowed lanes of Mangal Bazaar. And it is a time freezing experience. You still get things at as cheap a price as Rs. 5/- and though I don’t mind 5 or 50, it strangely tingles the bones when I was a kid and even 1 Re. did make a huge difference.
The street hawkers, “Medem, saadi layi jao 150 ma bey” is something you don’t get to hear anywhere. Or, “Uncle maate pant piece che!” Now which showroom did this explicit marketing? You get those “Naada-walas” who sell for 15 Rs a packet and you still haggle with them for ten rupees. There is still that odd handbag seller and the samosa vendor, the khaari-sing and chana wala and the huge cart with only female accessories.
Well, Vadodarites – for every time you spend a moment in the cradle of the city, you are actually walking a mile in the Maharaja’s times. You see when the city was initially crafted this was the major hub and all important spots like the city Gates, the Central court, the Sursagar – everything was crafted around it. If you notice the palace is some way ahead and so is the Central Jail.
We had a visionary king for sure who methodically designed the city. Not only did he do that, he strongly stayed to the roots of the development tree “Sanskar” and only did for the growth and development of the city in which we are standing now.
If I am in Mangal Bazaar, it would be inhumane to not mention “Pyaarelal” and the mouth watering famous kachoris and the “Laari – Lappa” atop the Padmavati shopping centre is possibly as old as the market itself. These are all living legend places – even if you scrap them, they are etched boldly in time and everybody’s going to remember it for eternity.
It is my heartfelt guarantee that even if you get inside Mangal Bazaar, you will never get lost in there. One street opens up to the other and you can always wriggle out and in the end you will come right in front of Prince Theatre or Lord Shiva himself. Try spending a majestic evening at the lake, you will be enthralled at the peace that settles on you.
What with Mangal Bazaar still strongly and closely knit, it gives me an immense pleasure to know that it is still the same way that it always was. How much ever malls have sprung across the city, Vadodarites still make it a point to go visiting t there when they want to actually buy something. You see, Mangal Bazaar is the testimony to a time that persisted long way back and for ever mall that comes up, Mangal Bazaar still stands tall!