Shopping with novelist Anuja Chauhan is like floating on hot and cool breeze. She is just the perky person you want to meet up at a market, share a banta (lemon soda) with, talk about this and that while buying this and that. Passionate about home products, interiors and décor, Chauhan, who is finishing her fourth novel these days, a sequel to Those Pricey Thakur Girls, confesses she is Ms Fixit. “I am always buying something for the house from, plants to hardware. I love tiles, paints, furniture," she tells us, adding that she has glass jars at home filled with nuts, bolts, screws, buttons, needles, wires…. “Anything busts or breaks and I roll up my sleeves ready to fix it," says the author, who arrives dressed in a long and slim yellow skirt, a pink ombre kurti-top tucked in, a pair of green everyday slippers, and a dupatta innovatively twisted around her neck and back like a rope accessory.

Chauhan’s Diwali shopping begins at New Delhi’s bustling Lajpat Nagar market hunting for brocade blouses in fluorescent colours. Her very first search is for a piece of brocade that cheerfully (mis) matches with a block-printed yellow cotton sari she recently picked up from Soma, a store of block printed fashion, apparel, accessories and home accessories in Mehar Chand Market. As the hours tick by, she hunts for stuff for her new house in Bangalore. In this shopping spree her first purchase is a pink sewing kit, outfitted with colourful threads, buttons, needles, scissors, even knitting needles. Chauhan picks up a shredder showing us how sharp and purposeful it can be. “This can rip open a ship for god’s sake," says Chauhan, trying it on an old wallet that is coming apart anyway and clearly loving her new little weapon. Later at Amar Colony market, colloquially known as the Khokha market for furniture, she finds a quaint, square wooden side table painted the colour of fresh mint, with a glass top and antique tiles on the side and two small, low stools in electric blue. The next moment she shows us a photo on her phone of her Bangalore house which has a blue facade at the entrance and we know where the stools would go. After that, it is a trip to Cottons & Satins, a funky upholstery store in Mehar Chand Market but Chauhan isn’t sure she likes anything particular there so we troop into Soma, clearly one of her most frequented shopping destinations. Here, she rummages happily, finally choosing a lovely floral quilt. Her last stop for the day is the Dastkari Haat Samiti’s new sari shop in Khan Market where she wants to search for a festive sari. After draping numerous textiles, Chauhan settles for a bright yellow and mauve silk sari which she says she would wear with a “tiny" blouse. “I am all for colour," she says underlining the spirit of her shopping spree.

While Chauhan admitted that this shopping trip was planned around her own Diwali shopping, she believes that well-chosen, utility-based and price-sensitive household items are ideal festival gifts.

Close