I came across pictures of Ganjing Carnival on my facebook page which made me really very emotional, as Lucknow as a City has great sentimental value for me. My heart immediately traversed to 90s, and thoughts crossed my mind of the wonderful time I spent in Lucknow then. . I can safely say that some of the best years of my life were spent in Lucknow and Ganjing was integral part of my stay in Lucknow.
Shifting from Delhi to Lucknow can be termed as backward integration for me and many people advised me against it. Given the headstrong person, that I am, I stuck to my guns. Before that I had just been to Lucknow only once that too for my interview appointment in PICUP. I had not applied much thought to it that what shifting to Capital of biggest state of the country would entail. After selection, I was quite clear that I am going to join PICUP and shift to Lucknow. In no time, it all fell into place.
नवाबों के शहर – शहरे लखनऊ
The ‘open’ culture of Delhi was in sharp contrast to ‘closed’ culture of Lucknow. This posed serious challenge for me as an individual. Your every action was under scanner, in office, in market, in extended families and friends (??). Now that I was in Lucknow, I had to learn the trick of the trade, as goes the saying: While in Rome, Do as the Romans do! Going by the Mantra, I started making friends in colleagues but most of them were from Lucknow only. Obviously they bonded well in office, after office, could connect very well with each other. I being an outsider, a Delhi girl, though it generated curiosity among them but they were far from friendly. Few months passed in repenting about my decision, my heart ran back to Delhi all the time and I cursed myself for making the decision of shifting to Lucknow. But now, nothing could be done. I had found solace in the posters all over: मुस्कुराइए की आप लखनऊ में हैं!
Crowds at Ganjing Carnival
As times passed by, I made friends with my colleagues: Geeta Sindhi, Amarjeet Singh, Ajay Kumar, Nadeem Ahmed, Kanika Gautam…with special mention of Shri Jwalant Swaroop. He is worthy of another special post. Not to miss mention of bosses like: Mr P.L.Punia, Rajive Kumar, V.K. Chopra, J. K. Gupta and Prabhat Kumar. Things started changing, I started gelling in Lucknow & PICUP cultures simultaneously and frequent visit to Hazrat Ganj – the upmarket shopping destination of Lucknow played a big role. The visits to specific destinations, movie theatres – remember watching “ Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ in Mayfair and coffee shops played a big role with my office colleagues and with Geeta in particular.
Evenings in Ganj were just amazing with setting sun providing the backdrop, foodies thronging the by lanes, lovers walking in the Lover’s lane ( actually called Lover’s lane), families out of shopping and movie lovers for movies all made up for the strong case in favour of Ganjing at any given point of time. Yes, Ganjing is the term, everywhere people go for shopping, outing, strolling but in Lucknow people go for GANJING! It was quite an experience in itself which made my stay even more pleasurable.
Now when I read about Ganjing Carnival, it was down memory lane…how time has flown. I don’t remember specific shops, cafés or even movie halls but I very fondly remember shopping with my mom in Ganj, hanging out with my friends, fun time with girlie gang or some official meetings too. Ganj holds a very special place in my heart like everyone who has been associated with Lucknow in any which ways. Ganj is heart of Lucknow and Carival is the Celebration.
So for the uninitiated: Hazratganj (Hindi: हज़रतगंज, Urdu: حضرتگںج) is a major shopping area situated in the heart of Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In addition to bazaars, it also contains shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theaters and offices. “Ganjing” is a term used to describe ambling and shopping in the wide lanes and by lanes of city’s ganj market. Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) together with city’s administration organizes monthly carnival on the second Sunday of each month in Hazrat Ganj market. On this night, the market becomes a no-parking zone with barricades and security services. Various types of cultural and entertainment programmes are held for the general public. Lucknow Police watches the crowd with the help of drone cameras.
Today Hazratganj is a major Victorian style shopping area. It houses showrooms, shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theatres, offices and businesses. Hazratganj shops sell the famous Lucknow chikankari material. Gurjari, Handloom Emporium and Gandhi Ashrams are also located in the market.
The Sahara Ganj Mall is a 5-storied major shopping mall located in Hazratganj. It is one of the largest shopping malls in India covering an area of over 425,000 square feet. It also has PVR movie theaters besides a huge food court.
Look forward to making it to Ganjing Carnival, till then like me you too see it to believe it!