Hey Lucknowites and folks with love in Lucknow; do you know what is happening here in the city of Nawabs during the Ramadaan period? What did you say: timely prayers, Iftaari and Sehari?? Yes but what else, what that is going on for years and is still a happening event every night during the whole of the Ramzan month- it is the nightlife of old Lucknow. If you have been a visitor I heard your delight expression but if you are not aware of it let us take you there and make you feel the excitement.
After the spiritual and busy day, women of all ages are now free in late night hours and are in complete mood of going on a shopping spree (though as women we always are in that mode but this month has its own appeal to shop till you drop). And mind you, this nightlife is the speciality of real Old Lucknow. The stroll begins from lanes of Nazeerabad dhaal via Aminabad till Chowk Akbari Gate. And hang on guys, the night life here, you bet is dominated by the fairer sex so no eve-teasers or late night fears dear!
This is the duration when in these areas shops and restaurants are open for the whole night. Stalls of pink Kashmiri chai, shahi tukda with that extra yummy coated cream and sikori kheer are seen all over the lanes and roads. Oh that magical aroma, its of the constantly boiling Kashmiri chai in the huge kettles to tempt your taste buds! Ashfaq, the chai vendor pours out a cuppa tea for us and thanks the all mighty, “Ramadhan ka mahina hota hi barakkat ka hai to isliye hume humare karobar mei bhi barakkat milti hai. Sabse zyaada to sale raat 9-10 baje se shuru hoti hai aur 2:30 baje raat tak hoti rehti hai(Ramadhan is the period of prosperity and therefore our business also prospers during this month. Our maximum sale starts after 9-10 p.m and lasts till 2.30 a.m).
Besides our shopping of clothes, crockery (I wonder how the cost price of the cut glasses and beautiful glass trays selling at peanut rates derived?), decorative pieces, jewellery and eateries etc we need some delicious stomach filling stuff now. Obviously Lucknow walas want their very own biryani platter; which one is the best? Take our word- every roadside biryani corner will make you lick your fingers. Even Sheermaals, kulcha and nehari you get here the best of the taste, so don’t hesitate just stop by at any one of the vendors in Chowk and you won’t regret. That long queue that you see at Akbari gate dhaal is not for any sale dudes, its for the people waiting for their chance to get inside the restaurant and have their hot crispy and fluffy kulchas and mouth-watering nehari, also drop by another day to feast on roasted chicken and famous mutton pasanda.
Have had enough for the day? No way, need some digestive drink after all the heavy sumptuous meal- yeah an excuse not to miss the cool shikanji of Mamdu bhai in the narrow lane of Rajabazar, Chowk. The popular lemon soda shikanji along with soothing qawwali numbers being played by sufi music lover shopkeepers of the vicinity does wonders to your system. And if you think its time to call off the day, errrr….night on the sufi song note, just ask Haji Saheb to pack halwa sohan and gulab jamun from his shop to carry the special sweetness of Ramadhan with you!