Sunday, March 2

Explorations 6 - Tank Road Ka Maal

Once Tank Road was the youngster's shopping mall. In the 80's and 90's this market of winding lanes led to small shops that had almost everything you required to dress up for the party. Lee, Wrangler, DKNY - you name it- they were there. Just that they were all fake. Tank Road ka Maal (Bought from Tank Road) was a term often used for anything fake or cheap.

If you were in college or new to a job and didn't have much to spend, here is where you went. While most of the market only dealt in wholesale stuff, some smart shopkeepers decided to make use of this demand for "foreign brands" and cater to the younger crowd. However, the labels were all wrong. Lee would have a Bruce attached to it and DKNY would be spelt wrong in all the possible ways.

The shopkeepers would never take no for an answer. In a way they had an advantage. We had come there to buy a brand. So if Wangler is not available, then Wrngler would suffice. Before going to Tank Road we had all these visions of wearing the latest stuff but once in the galis we would settle for just about anything. The other advantage the shops had was that Indians were competing with Russian tourists shopping for cheaper clothes in bulk. It seems that the biggest impact of the breaking up of the Soviet Union was that in Russia clothes became expensive !

With the coming of malls and speciality shops, Tank Road is not the same anymore. It still does a huge business of wholesale stuff with all the Maruti vans filled with clothes lined up at the entrances. Once in a while one can still see a Russian tourist, but the young goes elsewhere.

You see they need a coffee break while they shop.

Route Plan: Take the Metro line to Dwarka and get off at Rajendra Place . Walk around the lake down to Prasad Nagar or take a cycle rickshaw. Tank Road starts just behind the Faith Academy school.

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