Exactly two years ago, I stayed in Paharganj and wrote this review and here I am today, in the same café and in the company of Mr. Sharma who runs it.
Paharganj is the union of several crisscrossing streets lined with cheap bed-and-breakfast joints and shops selling knickknacks and exorbitantly priced merchandise for the benefit of foreigners who frequent this area for its proximity to the railway station and its tolerance of the many vices that besiege mankind. And right at the center of this confluence, running east-west is the main bazaar at the far end of which sits this café.
Mr. Sharma, as is his wont, sits behind the billing counter perched at the edge of street waving and welcoming almost everyone who passes by. The place hasn’t changed much since the last time I was here; a makeshift stand that sold instrumental music that sat across the billing counter is gone, Mr. Sharma has lost weight, and beer is now sold discreetly in Styrofoam ‘Dutch Brothers’ coffee containers. But the food is as good as ever and perhaps, one of the other reasons why I sit here is because of the fact that I happened upon this place two years ago and it afforded me the silence and solitude I needed to write and read, despite the chaos of main bazaar.