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A Day In… LITTLE INDIA

If you are looking for a travel destination guide, look someplace else. However, if you are interested in reading how two people got desperately lost in a location, snapping pictures and penning down thoughts as they went along; then you probably are at the right place.

This series is nothing about introducing places to visit; much less uncovering food haunts. It really is just us taking a day off to slack from our mounting office work, aimlessly wandering around places that we find are pretty interesting. This series focuses on the raw nature of the location, unadulterated and complete for your reading pleasure.

The first adventure of sorts began at Little India. Being unfamiliar with the area, it was only natural for us to start at Mustafa. The multi-level 24-hour shopping complex is probably one of the best places to stake out during a zombie apocalypse in Singapore. It has everything you could possibly think of.

The extensive range of colour fabric that Mustafa stocks, amongst a zillion other things

We left the illustrious complex for fears of a dwindling bank account balance, and headed over to Lembu Road. Here, we walked past a rather oddly placed fruit store by the side of the road. We proceeded to take a few shots and the store tender very gamely posed for us. He even introduced himself as a – surprise, surprise – Multi-Level-Marketer.

The enthusiastic fruit seller cum Multi-Level-Marketer

A short walk later, we arrived at Desker Road, the infamous red light district of transvestites and friends. However, we took a wrong turn and wound up along Serangoon Road instead. We spoke to a rather drunk looking local who showed us the way back, addressing me as “baya” in the process; supposedly meaning “brother” in Tamil. We would have taken a picture of him, but there was an empty beer bottle on the table, and we felt that our lives were a little too unfulfilled. Thus we moved on.

Moving along the narrow streets of Desker Road, we came under intense fire from the flights of pigeons. We ran for our lives but they were too fast.

On the other end of Desker Road, it was where things became more interesting. Shoddy looking shops peppered the lane with equally shoddy looking people standing around the area. The fact that I was holding a notepad and my photographer, holding the most dreaded weapon all shoddy individuals fear, a DSLR; obviously, we felt a little less than welcomed in the area.

A few noteworthy shops we came across were a very ironically named Hookers @ Desker, and a pretty straightforward shop named Happy Happy. You cannot get any more creative than that.

No prizes for guessing what goes on inside

We then got out of the area and headed over to Rowell Road, where the situation became less Bourne-like. We walked past a really small convenience stall, and we just felt like we had to take a photo of the shopkeeper. Again, he very gamely posed for us and even grabbed his friend along for the session.

Best shopkeepers ever

Strolling along Rowell Road, there were still reminiscences of its fiercer brother, where a few shoddy looking characters roamed the area. A transvestite was seen strutting in heels. Yummy. Located at Rowell was also Post Museum, but it was unfortunately closed when we visited. The few colonial houses along the stretch looked a little more than out of place as compared to its siblings across the road. There was a “Hello!!!” vandalized on the wall, so… hello back, wall!

Everybody, meet Wall. Wall, meet everybody.

The journey continues on to Kampong Kapor Road, and then to Verasamy Road. We past a really old school convenience store, with an even older school $5 hair salon next to it. Soon after, we found ourselves back at Serangoon Road, with a Hindu temple across the street. We continued venturing along Serangoon Road with value shops blasting techno, and later found to our surprise: The Jungle Tandoor. It was similar to a certain rainforest cafe, but instead was serving ethnic Indian cuisine. Opposite the road was a vintage newsstand. I would very much love to see one of these in Orchard Road.

We continued forth into Upper Dickson Road, this time with the fatigue in our legs building. We stumbled upon an interesting Stagger Inn Bar & Bistro, with a very tacky “bar not hostel” sprawled across the glass door. Why do we get the feeling that this is an awesome place already? Moving on, we spotted the famous MOON Hotel and Wanderlust. And because our legs were beginning to give way, we decided to call it a day… until we saw the infamous Thieves’ Market. A quick round was to be made, until our legs begged us to stop… which was when we turned back and really called it a day.

"BAR NOT HOSTEL"

All in all, Little India was truly a unique experience especially in urban Singapore. Gritty back alleys and beaten up letter boxes made up a huge part of Little India’s personality. The friendly individuals who helped us along the way also contributed to Little India’s down to Earth appeal. I would say that walking through the area was a calming experience, but it is way too clichéd and so you will only have to find out yourself.

– Text by Toke, Images by Izuan

View the rest of the photos taken during the trip below.

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