Row of 50 illegal buildings consisted of mini media offices, godowns, small eateries, and tea shops . Row of 50 illegal buildings consisted of mini media offices, godowns, small eateries, and tea shops .
Any bylane is a pulsating rhythm in the background if a city encapsulates the complex song of urban life.Bylanes are democratic spaces of conviviality and familiarity, hidden from prying eyes.Men and women get out of their jobs in the small shops and dhabas there, tired of the ordinary, step out of their offices to drink tea, smoke cigarettes, share confidence, and enjoy a few moments of life outside of work.One such spot was the long and straight bylane along Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, that is parallel to the walls of Jadid Qabristan Ahle Islam, the city's largest graveyard for Muslims.There was a barber shop and a cigarette shop nearby, as well as a quiet cobbler who fought with patience and passion until a long time ago.For some, it served as a recreation space, while others used it as a workstation.It was a gender-neutral zone where the educated middle class and the underclass clashed and interacted, although superficially, with each other.The most customers came to the tea shops. Even in Delhi's tumultuous summer, the regulars trudged to his open-air shop.Sipping tea while sitting on a run-down sofa that his neighbor, kabaadiwala, had briefly put on display, is one of my enduring memories.Vehicles from nearby shops followed.Rakesh specialized in bread omelettes and his own version of Maggi noodles with eggs. Dinesh had an excellent tea.His namakparas and pakoras enriched evenings and conversations.For those with experimental palates, chowmein samosas, which were briefly introduced on his unwritten menu, was a hit with those who tried them.Janta Dhabha, which had the best seating arrangement in the bylane, served low-cost lunch. A man named Steve had started a small restaurant that served first-class chicken korma about a decade and a half ago.The chef admitted to being in the Presidents kitchen.In no time, the restaurant closed.Little India followed suit, which served crisp masala dosas and the finest filter coffee you could buy for Rs 30. Organization attendance has dropped.According to shopkeepers, the company is down to 50%.It got worse on Wednesday, as it was announced.Following a court decision that they were illegal, every outlet was rediscovered. There was nothing left but cracked bricks, twisted metal sheets, and ragpickers on Thursday.And a bachelor flock of befuddled roosters whose owner was nowhere to be seen.When shops that once provided a way of life to some, now provided a convenient and friendly place for inexpensive social contact, it takes something away from us.What used to be part of our daily lives is now confined to memory. We all suffer from an ache we can't fully comprehend.Possibly it is the loneliness of being strangers on our own street.And yet this pain is nothing compared to those who have lost their sole source of income.Some of them had been serving there for more than three decades.