Walk down from the Ridge to Lakkar Bazaar in the evening after dark and you find scores of hawkers occupying the road side, selling everything from soup, eggs, sandwiches, shawls, the laughing Buddhas, fruits etc. Walking on this stretch has become a nightmare as almost half the road is occupied by these hawkers and the people availing their ‘services’. The best place is occupied by the guy selling chicken soup just next to the tree on Ridge. He sits comfortably on the bench with a small table in front selling hot soup and boiled eggs besides the garbage dumper shouting Chicken soup… Boiled aandey. This entire stretch has become extremely dirty as most of the hawkers sell eatables and the disposable plates, left overs etc. are all spewed on the road. The city has gone to dogs with so much filth around. I have doubts about the basic cleanliness and hygiene of these people. These guys look extremely dirty and probably work as laborers during day time.
I wonder how much hafta the municipal corporation and policewallas must be getting from these hawkers since this is a total illegal practise. I tried coxing one of the hawkers but he just smiled but said nothing. The police is not aware of the hawkers occupying this stretch cannot be believed. Or the present police captain of Shimla who hails from Eastern India has taken upon himself to provide employment to people from his region!
Walk a little further and at DR Complex (opposite DAV School) the shops suddenly swell on to the road after dark. These shopkeepers encroach almost 8-10 feet of the road displaying shawls, pullovers, jackets etc. Here again perhaps bribe does the trick. To be a babu or bada babu (officer) in MC must feel like sitting on a goldmine. A little ahead are the fruit sellers who place there stuff from morning onwards. It seems it is free for all on Shimla streets.
Walking past these hawkers after the evening stroll on Mall, I really feel sorry for Shimla city. Once known as queen of hills, it has now become whore of hills thanks to the people responsible for running the affairs of city.
All I am left is to hum this new chart buster.. Chicken soup… Boiled aandey..