As you traverse through the snaking galis of Chowk’s prominent Akbari Gate, you’ll find the kaleidoscopic culture of the city, bustling in every nook and corner. The fissures in every chipped wall, the intertwined wires of old electric poles, the narrow lanes being frolicked by busy commuters on scooters or by foot since the first ray of light- all of it coheres the ‘Chowk culture’ together!
The more you saunter around this locale, the more you’ll know about footslogging in a ‘tunnel direction’- wherever the road unfolds, you simply have to keep walking. While on your mid-way to the end of this extensive lane of divergent kiosks and chaos, you’ll find quaint yet vibrant ittar shops racked on your left side! Quite literally along the same lines, you’ll find Abdul bhai’s ‘Attar Mahal’ and just opposite to that, your eyes will rest on the face of an old man, seated on a frayed cushion with his hath-pankha.
Nothing uncommon right?! An elderly Muslim man selling his trinkets while passersby make a stop, have a quick chat and leave- but he sits there, waving his fan and chewing on paan, like most of the vendors do!
Meet Abdul Khalid aka ‘Haji Sahab Sikkewale’!
‘Haji Sahab’ has been operating his antique coins’ shops as a side business at this spot since 1994 and it his shauk to trade vintage coins and articles, in exchange of a meager amount and hearty smiles!
Haji Sahab is a warm and witty person with a Cheshire cat smile, who indulges everyone in tales of his finds and explorations throughout the years. But his most recent favourite story has been resonating in the lanes of Chowk and how!
Abdul sahab is also a famed ‘stall -owner’ at Lucknow’s iconic Mahindra Sanatkada Festival and he has been setting up his booth there for the past 7 years! This festival becomes a substantial mean of earning for him every year because people who interact with him, are always in his awe and nobody goes back empty handed.
Location: Walk straight from the Gol Darwaza, towards the ittar shops! You’ll find him on your right side, 300-400m away!