Growing up, the one name that was heard the most in our household in Dehradun was Sarojini Market.
"Yeh bed sheet bahut acchi hai. Kahan se li?" my mom would ask.
"Sarojini se," my Delhi-returned aunt would reply.
"Aur yeh suit?"
"Yeh shirt bahut acchi hai. Kahan se?"
Yes, before fancy showrooms mushroomed all over India, there was Sarojini.
A small haven for sellers and buyers alike.
Time flew by. I came to Delhi and soon enough, the market became a regular haunt for me and my friends. It was a boon for all us college kids with limited funds.
And even though we boys used to find limited variety for our wardrobe, Sarojini was still far more welcoming than all the other fancy outlets in other parts of the city.
We got our jobs. Our disposable income now allowed us far greater financial liberties. For once in our lives, we were now able to read the menu from left to right and not from right to left.
Our eating habits changed. Our dressing sense changed. Our way of commuting changed. But one thing remained constant.
Our regular excursions to Sarojini.
I was a pretty well dressed guy throughout my college life, courtesy Sarojini.
The USP of the market was that while the stuff there was super cheap, it never looked cheap. Clothes from Sarojini always managed to get you compliments from all quarters.
Maybe that's because the clothes were always in-sync with the latest fashion trends. There was nothing outdated in the market. Ever.
And they'd always last. Clothes from high-end showrooms would often turn to tatters within a few years but the ones from Sarojini would always surprise us with their durability.
Most of us could afford to be fashionable in college because Sarojini was there.
Yes, one of the biggest incentives of going to Sarojini was the fact that stuff there was dirt cheap. But shopping from Sarojini is not about the money.
It's about the experience. It's a level playing field where you see people stepping out from an auto rickshaw or a Mercedes alike.
It's a cultural potboiler. It brings people together irrespective of their financial status.
There's no other market in Delhi where you can bargain as freely as in Sarojini. It's an unsaid rule that buying stuff from Sarojini at MRP is a non-bailable offence. Which is what makes this place so alluring.
Unlike the showrooms, it doesn't feel or look artificial. It's like doing window shopping but in 3D.
There are some things money can't buy. And Sarojini ki khushiyaan is one of them.