Less than six weeks ago, before we went on holiday, there was only an old, grey brick wall here. If you look carefully at the photo, you’ll be able to see it. It’s a little more than waist high, and has a different pattern to the top half of the structure.
During the time that we were away, the wall was built upon. Bricks were laid and a tin roof added, enclosing the wall, but with a small gap left at the front to serve as a counter. The wall had been turned into a shop. A fast food shop.
Someone had been very enterprising and recognised a fabulous opportunity. The shop is located right in front of the auto rickshaw stand, on the road opposite our apartment complex. A steady stream of customers, particularly auto rickshaw drivers, is guaranteed. The shop caters for them perfectly by selling cigarettes, chai (tea), masala paan, biscuits, and even vada pav. Apparently, the vendor also plans to start selling south Indian food, such as idli and sambar.
However, a peek inside the shop left me feeling a little incredulous. There’s no power and no running water. And it’s not exactly hygienic. No food safety inspector would allow it to operate.
Not to mention, it’s unsightly. Surely, at least a little baksheesh must have been paid to the authorities to allow its construction. Hiranandani Gardens is a planned development area. This is what the rest of the street looks like.
But does it really matter? Money is being earned. People’s needs are being met. And India continues to be a country of extreme contrasts.
© 2011, Diary of a White Indian Housewife. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.
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