Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lucknow: Ganjing

Been to Lucknow, and haven't done 'Ganjing' is as good as(rather, as bad as) you haven't been there at all. I will shed more light on this term.

Ganjing is a term used to describe leisurely, aimless amblings in the wide lanes and bylanes of city's most happening market -Hazratganj. Well, it is not entirely aimless, I must say. It is the main shopping area, it has the best cinema theatres, it has coolest ice cream parlours, and it has the crowd.

So if you want to have your favourite coffee, a bite at ice-cream, lazeez biryani or simply want to have an eyeful of opposite sex, Ganjing is the best way to go about it, in the city of Nawabs. Shopping is the last thing on the mind. Every vacation of mine has at least one day reserved for the MG Road in Hazratganj.

The place is very romantic. Shops are not like the bland Gurgaon malls. They are a blend of old and new. Most building housing shops, restaurants, cinemas are almost 100 years, and they present an old world charm about themselves.

The four landmarks about the Lucknow, which stand out in Hazratganj are Mayfair cinema theatre, which always showed the choicest English movies; British Council Library, the Lucknow chapter; Lucknow Coffee House, which the great thinkers like Premchand, Yashpal, Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to frequent and Ram Advani Bookshop - arguably the best managed bookshop in the country.

Of these, the first two have shut shop, perhaps, a hint of changing times. Coffee House is struggling hard to make ends meet. Though the old glory and patrons are lost, still it's trying to hold it's own against the attack of Baristas and Cafe Coffee Days.

But Ram Advani Bookshop is still alive and rocking. Mr Advani personally looks after each visitor, and helps him/her in finding the desired book. The collections also is marvelous. Some of them are rare gems of history, and literature. Every visit is an experience in itself. In fact, many people incuding historians, foreigners visit this city only to visit this shop and meet Ram Advani.

If you were visit Lucknow, don't ever miss out Ganjing, and more importantly - Ram Advani's Bookshop.

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