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There’s something for everyone in this khadda… (Photos: Malika Abbas/White Star)

Once upon a time, there was… well, a khadda (depression). Entirely unremarkable and fairly unprepossessing, its sole redeeming feature in the early 1980s lay in the fact that it was among the few planned, exclusively commercial areas this side of the bridge and was well served by public transport.

Since then, the three commercial establishments that have been there  – Jimmy’s, UBL and a barber shop – have spawned several scores more. And while it may never command the social cachet a Zamzama or Park Towers address does, for the lazy, the curious and the inveterate shoppers, Khadda Market is definitely the place to go.

Critical to the success of any seriously commercial area is the food it offers – think channa papri in Bohri Bazaar – and Khadda Market comes up aces here. Mustard-oozing hunter beef burgers, thick chikoo milkshakes, spicy garlic mayo rolls, piquant frozen strawberry yoghurt, Chinese takeaway, Hyderabadi thaalis and even the humble biryani – there’s something for every palate. For the ones who got the new Jamie Oliver for their birthday, there are the fruit and vegetable vendors who sell cherry tomatoes, asparagus and broccoli for a fraction of what Agha’s charges. There’s also a choice between a desi butcher and a recently established high-end one, depending on one’s degree of aversion to the smell of fresh blood.

There’s also an institution called Ami’s, which began life as a khokha. Soon, legions came to swear by proprietor Sarmad bhai’s paans, forsaking generations-old loyalties to PIDC. When he expanded to include breakfast basics, the faithful followed. Not only would he remember the brand of cereal you bought, he would even give it to you on credit. Today, Ami’s is an air-conditioned supermarket selling pretty much everything (and what they don’t have, they’ll get for you). But they still provide credit and the paan wala remembers the kind your mother likes.

And art galleries too! (Photos: Malika Abbas/White Star)

But the biggest business in Khadda Market is beauty. Every day, a battalion of demurely clad young women descends on Khadda Market from rickshaws, buses and motorbikes of brothers or boyfriends. Inside the salons, the burqas are abandoned in favour of snug jeans and snugger T-shirts before the girls attempt similar makeovers for their clients.

From DVDs to lingerie, from art galleries to auto workshops, there’s little you won’t find in this khadda. But the real reason for its success as a ‘business model’ – and the insane traffic most hours of the day and night – is just this: it is egalitarian and inclusive.

At the Forum, for example, you will find Bateel but not Sony Sweets. In Khadda Market, you can buy a silk caftan for Rs 20,000 but can also get a kameez tailored for just Rs 400. A pedicure can cost Rs 1,200 and Rs 200, both establishments within a stone’s throw of each other. Isn’t that what all big malls are about?

Prices:

Shops                        Rental                                                Sale

300 sq ft:               50,000-60,000                            36 million-60 million

500 sq ft:               70,000-80,000                            60 million-125 million

900 sq ft:               100-150 thousand                        108 million-225 million

Surrounding Houses

                                    Rentals                                               Sale

500 sq yds:             50,000-80,000                             22.5-25 million

1,000 sq yds            125,000-150,000                         45-55 million

Apartments     

                                    Rentals                                               Sale

2 bedrooms             18,000–20,000                             3 million-3.5 million.

— Soha Ahmed
First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 15, 2011.

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