An Eclec­tic Plat­ter

Saidu­la­jab is an un­der­rated rev­e­la­tion for the Dil­li­wal­lahs seek­ing a slice of the city's al­ter­nate cul­ture.

India Today - - COVER STORY - By Team Delhi

On one of those days when you're in no mood to brave the park­ing night­mare in the malls, head to Saidu­la­jab for a quiet-con­ver­sa­tions-cum-good food out­ing. Hid­den safely be­hind the unin­spir­ing en­vi­rons of the South Delhi lo­cal­ity, this hide­out is slowly but steadily cre­at­ing an al­ter­nate en­ter­tain­ment hub in its many lanes, of­fer­ing a chunky slice of mu­sic, art, cul­ture, shop­ping and of course, food.

Grab your Grub

Jug­mug Thela is try­ing to bring back smells and flavours of the past, where a ven­dor would bring the chai in a cart. Thirty-six-year old Jiten Suchede's popup ur­ban-street style thela at Saidu­la­jab is then an ode to mem­ory of old chai stalls where peo­ple would talk to each other un­like in cafes where each ta­ble would be­come an is­land. A for­mer graphic de­signer, who re­turned from the UK, Suchede's en­try into the busi­ness wasn't planned at all. It hap­pened when friends urged him to set up a chai stall at a hand­i­crafts mela in 2013 when he put to­gether a makeshift thela with re­claimed wooden planks. They parked the thela at his rented space in an old ware­house that used to be a Murgikhana once. Murgikhanas were dis­al­lowed in the late 1990s and the space in Saidul­la­jab was a ware­house un­til Suchede rented it out and oth­ers fol­lowed like Peo­ple Tree, NGO Ju­gaad Trust, de­sign­ers Renu & Rekha, Blue Tokai Cof­fee Roast­ers, Ja­mura De­sign, which is Suchede’s carpentry busi­ness. This space, called Champa Gali is meant to be an in­ter­ac­tive place which will soon have a read­ing room to re­con­nect

peo­ple over tea. Hob­by­ists can come to­gether and cre­ate cus­tomised wooden fur­ni­ture like ta­bles and benches here as well. The art afi­cionado can also find an art gallery here . Then, there is a small shop for Karm Marg, an NGO that works for or­phans. If you find your way out of this eclec­tic labyrinth, there's also the Rose Cafe which is worth a visit. The cafe is now a fix­ture in the city's Sun­day brunch scene for its dainty tea room and a Jane-Austen in­spired am­bi­ence, or head to Fio for a ro­man­tic din­ner.

Re­tail Ther­apy

While you must not miss the ar­ti­sanal bakes and cof­fee here, there is an­other space that is a must-do. Ju­gaad Trust, an up­cy­cling store, sells best-out-of-waste prod­ucts such as jew­ellery, hand printed and Khadi clothes, bags, and sta­tionery, and its eco-friendly fash­ion prod­ucts are hand­made and gen­er­ate in­come for ru­ral women and young adults. Ju­gaad, which roughly trans­lates to ‘mak­ing the most out of what­ever lit­tle you have’, is a cru­cial In­dian trait of in­no­va­tion. All prof­its from the trust fund 50 per cent of NGO Karm Marg’s, ac­tiv­i­ties. Here, you’ll also stum­ble upon Peo­ple Tree for dis­tinc­tive cloth­ing col­lec­tion and ac­ces­sories to un­usual art­work and books. This stu­dio-store com­bines eco­log­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity and so­cial pur­pose.

Groove like That

From hold­ing the Re­Sound con­cert or­gan­ised by Mu­sic Basti in Fe­bru­ary this year to host­ing two open houses that saw a fun mix of mu­sic, po­etry and shop­ping—a lot has been up in the lovely lanes of Saidu­la­jab. This space re­cently wit­nessed cap­i­tal-re­sid­ing duo of rap­per Delhi Sul­tanate aka Taru Dalmia and singer Begum X aka Sa­mara Cho­pra per­form at the first zan­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the Bass Foun­da­tion Roots Sound Sys­tem, the city-based reg­gae sound sys­tem they launched in 2016.

Pho­to­graph by M ZHAZO

Fio at Gar­den of Five Senses

The hid­den trea­sures of Champa Gali

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