Feb 17, 2006

Visit to chor bazaar

In effect, the direct translation of chor bazaar is thief market. Of course, if you’re already painting pictures of an Indian market, all hustle-bustle, chaos and colour populated thickly with thieves, pickpockets and all other sorts of low lifes, forget it.

The cognoscenti will say dress down, wear cheap, threadbare clothes, take a cab there and back (they might strip your car to its constituents while you’re in the rabbits warren of the market.). And more than once, you can come to shop and see the grease-covered men industriously stripping an old Premier or something down. And five minutes later you pass by the same joint, and the car’s gone. All that remains is a strangely familiar grille hanging in the shop front, four wheels and tyres that have just appeared on the pile outside, a new engine block staring darkly back at you and other bits and bobs, carefully and haphazardly stacked around the place. It’s all for sale, of course, bargaining is a must. The cardinal rule is you never ask where the shop got it from.

Two colleagues and I went looking for bits for an RD one of them is restoring. We found a cotton waste shop that sells the stringy stuff that sends mechanics into orbit with delight. Kilos of the stuff. We found a rather expensive but attractive Fury fork. We found more Pulsar tanks, fairings and bits than I’d like to think about. We found a shop whose false ceiling was made up entirely of dark grey carburettors from a thousand machines. We found a shop stacked to the ceiling with used nuts and bolts. And with the aroma of grease, oil and engines mixes the smell of kebabs cooking… If it weren’t for the fear that I’m about three seconds from losing my wallet and cellphone, I’d hang out here forever.

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