A DAY after Diwali, Seema, a 21-year-old Delhi University student, sits by the entrance of her family’s shop at the Hauz Rani Kumbhar Gali (potters’ lane) in Saket. As her father is unwell, she says she is manning the store in Press Enclave Marg. The days before Diwali are the busiest, she says, with people coming to buy diyas from across the NCR. However, people continue to visit the shops even after the festival, adds Seema.
“People come from all over the city. Some come from Gurgaon and Faridabad. They speak different languages, belong to different places but before Diwali everyone wants to buy clay handicraft and diyas,” she says.
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Her mother, Kesanti, thanks Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She says people have starting “valuing clay handicrafts once again since he “discouraged them from using Chinese products”.
The lane that stretches from near Malviya Nagar Metro station to Select Citywalk Mall is lined with many such shops run by families who have been in the pottery business for decades. Kesanti, who hails from Rajasthan, said her father-in-law ran the business in Delhi years before she was married. “We belong to the potters’ community. We don’t do any other jobs,” she said.
Firoze Khan (32), who also runs his shop in the Hauz Rani Kumbhar Gali, says Diwali is the time when business peaks. “People come here from everywhere, not just from NCR but from other states as well. We get a lot of customers who are from Maharashtra and Gujarat,” he says.
Among the customers thronging the shops is Jyotirmoyee, a homemaker from Saket, who had come to the potters’ lane with her husband and son on Monday. She debated between buying clay chimes, pots, decorative items before settling on clay wall-hangings. “I come here because this market has good quality products,” she says.
A few shops away, Manila Narzary, who hails from Assam, was looking at pots, plates, bowls and other clay crockery items. “I have been here before and I think there is a lot of variety in this market,” she says. She had driven down with her friends from Karol Bagh.
Anjula Rai (28), who frequents the market all year long, brought with her a friend who is visiting from Shimla. “What you get in markets today are not clay products. In this market you will find very nicely crafted clay products,” Rai tells her friend.