This gentleman and his wares occupy a prime piece of pavement in the vicinity of 3C’s mall, Lajpat Nagar, Delhi. Customers have learnt to seek him out. We found a nice line of Absolut and Grey Goose glasses. He buys the bottles (Rs5 is what he pays; he sells them at Rs80-100), then cuts off the necks of the ones he thinks he can’t sell. And you have a lovely heavy glass that can house an entire 650ml beer. Or a seriously large cocktail. He will cut you a deal if you buy a set. He also has a range of whisky bottles. He told us if we had any Blue Label bottles, he’d give us Rs300 for them.
The Mumbai municipal corporation recently confirmed that it was testing Chinese fibreglass manhole covers to replace 500 cast iron covers that have been stolen from atop Mumbai’s sewers.
Meanwhile, many Western cities buy manhole covers from foundries in India. In New York, Indian manhole covers have become something of a pop culture reference. They’re depicted on fridge magnets (pictured) and have been the subject of at least one published poem: Purvi Shah’s ‘Made in India, Immigrant Song No. 3’.
Leong’s Food Products, in a noodle-thin lane in KG Halli, Bangalore, is where your egg noodle and crispy wonton lunch was born. Here workers from Bihar dump a tonne of flour into the automatic kneader, break in 2,000 eggs, add water and hit the button. All before dawn breaks. The mountain of dough then gets into the press, and miles of noodles and sheets of wonton skins are ready for the steamer. A quick steam later they are weighed, packed and driven off to the 400 Oriental cuisine restaurants in the city.
27/28, Mt Land, KG Halli, Venkatapuram, Post Main Road, Bangalore (25480156).
In 2002, Chennai-based freelance journalist Vinita Sidhartha watched her grandparents and children playing the traditional Indian game of snakes and ladders. Later that year, she set up Kreeda Games, which supplies traditional board games to stores all over India: ‘chaupad’ (with real cowries and canvas mat), ‘kattam vilayuttu’ (a variation of noughts and crosses), ‘chathurvimshathi koshtaka’ (a battlefield in 24 squares) and ‘aadu puli aatam’ (the tiger and the goat, a strategy game similar to chess). Prices start at Rs80, for ages 3 plus. For more information, log on to ‘www.kreedagames.com’. (Amrita Bose)