An Afternoon in Jamia Bazaar
– Shreya Chowdhury
Jamia Bazaar 3 was organised by CEQUIN at India Islamic Cultural Centre on 26th-27th October 2013 with the agenda of improving the socio-economic conditons of the marginalised women of Jamia Nagar.
Sara Pilot and Laura Prabhu founded CEQUIN, Centre for Equity and Inclusion in 2008, an NGO which works for the welfare of women and children. They train these women in various skills to become economically self sufficient. Jamia Bazaar gives them a platform to showcase their skills and talents which, in turn, gives them economic benefit. Sara Pilot feels that, unlike Purani Dilli which has a culture of its own and people are familiar with it, Jamia does not. Hence, Jamia Bazaar is a way of familiarising people with the flavour and elements of Jamia. This event is created with sustainability in mind and is not just a one-time show. 2013 is the third year of the Jamia Bazaar. It has seen a growth curve in terms of the number of people attending it and the number of people participating in it. The Jamia Bazaar also gives these women a space to come out of the dingy lanes and interact with people from different walks of life which has instilled them with confidence.
The two-day mela displayed items of various artwork, diyas, salwar suits, accessories and a wide assortment of food. Jamia Bazaar was conceived with the idea to meet the wants of those who come with their families to spend a pleasant weekend ,shopping and sampling the array of delicacies. The food was, however, not the highlight of the event though there was a good range of choice from the valleys of Kashmir to the deserts of Rajasthan to Park Street’s Flurys. Though the Biryani was light and flavoursome, the taste was average.
The Shammi Kabab was the highlight of the meal. It melted in the mouth and was a total hit. Their original shop, Shabnam Shammi Kabab, is located at Batla House. The paranthas accompanying these kababs were soft and delicious. The seekh kabab was aromatic and well-seasoned, though a little hard. The shawarama was also quite a delight with good flavours. The Kashmiri stall was popular amongst the buyers, with their Gostaba, Rista and their famous drink, kahwa. ‘Apno Rajasthan’ also gave us a variety of dishes ranging from kachori to dal pakoda to mawa kachori. The meal ended with a delightful fudge cake from Flurys. The only sentence to describe it would be, ‘heaven on a plate’.
Colourful kashmiri shawls, glittery accessories, good food and Qawali playing in the background created a nice ambience. The event had a very cosy and family-like environment, which can be attributed to the people who made it possible. Overall, it was an afternoon well spent. We will be looking forward to Jamia Bazaar next year!
Photos by Foodie Photographer:Kali Walia