What’s a fancy black fascinator, complete with feathers and a net veil, doing in Delhi’s backpacker central? Did it arrive on a Dilli Darshan bus, a posh stowaway that spent its life in Princess Beatrice’s cupboard and sick of its privileged existence, had escaped to see the world? Were the earrings it was sitting next to from Pocahontas’s personal collection? Where in Delhi could we wear a purple-plumed hat without looking completely ridiculous?
Riddler on the Roof
These are the questions that occupied us as we stumbled into Jewel Junction, a grimy, weird little shop in the main market of Paharganj. Set amidst tourist traps peddling Mary Jane t-shirts and with an incongruous tagline - “specialise in air and sea cargo” – this was an unlikely place to find headdresses elaborate enough for a royal wedding, but there they were, wilting in the dusty heat, one of our coolest scores to date.
The sullen shopkeeper’s assistants responded blankly to our questions, telling us only that the store was two years old and stocked silver jewelry (usual bangles-jhumkis-stone-necklaces) and headdresses that were made at a Capital warehouse. These could be customized and discounted for bulk orders.
Fruit of the Plume
Completely disinterested in making a sale, they clucked disapprovingly when we examined the loot more closely, but that didn’t stop us from pulling down a gorgeous black feather and net veil barrette and a smaller but no less lovely white feather number.
On another wall was a collection of feathered earrings, sharp red spikes with little beads on the end; and long, shoulder-grazing versions that looked like hoopoe wings. It was really the hair bands in the corner that got us though, topped with bright plumes in varying shades of hot pink and magenta.
We bought those, plus Princess Beatrice’s ex-headdress. As the sullen girls packed it up, we hoped we could give it a more exciting life than she had.
Getting there: 1098, main market, Paharganj, call 9810993930/41698666, Rs 300 for a fascinator with a veil.