roopak vs. roopak

The new omelette wallah appeared out of nowhere one day. We were walking down the street towards the market, expecting to pass the same omelette wallah who had been selling cooked eggs from his folding table every day since we’d moved to Hauz Khas. But where there had been one omelette wallah, on this day there were two. Both had a table full of eggs, a small stove, and a few canisters of chilis and spices.

Both stared straight ahead. Neither acknowledged the other.

We didn’t think competition could get any more cutthroat than that. Until we found Roopak and Roopak.


There on the left, that’s Roopak in Karol Bagh. And there on the right, well, that’s also Roopak, in Karol Bagh. Both sell spices, nuts, dried fruit, chutneys, that sort of thing. Judging from the wear and tear on the signs, both Roopaks look like they’ve been around for a while.

Even in a city where direct competition is shockingly direct, how do two businesses end up with the same name and the same inventory right next door to each other?

Maybe it’s nothing more exciting than a family schism, but I’d like to think this is the second omelette vendor’s brazenness on a massive scale—except it turned out that Karol Bagh was big enough for the both of them. Whereas the second omelette vendor disappeared a few days after he arrived, the original Roopak and the new Roopak have maintained their cold war for years. Imagine the scene every morning: the two owners arriving to open the shutters, each angrily unlocking and lifting and slamming with all the ritual stomping and preening and chest puffing of the flag lowering at Wagah.

One thing I’d like to know: which Roopak came first?

17 responses to “roopak vs. roopak

  1. Then there’s D.Vaish and the original Vaish tailors… both at CP, both next to cinemas. The original Vaish has a Savile Row pedigree, D.Vaish has timber panelling to evoke the spirit of Savile Row.

  2. That’s hilarious. I just moved to south Delhi last week, in Lajpat Nagar. I wish we had omelette wallahs around here! I’m curious — where are you guys located?

  3. Hi Faye! We used to live in Hauz Khas, but we shifted to Singapore earlier this year.

  4. Antiglam Superstar!

    ..and there is the bhraawan da dhabba and brother’s dhabba in amritsar, but that’s just another case of a family schism. Yummy amritsari kulchas though!

    When shopping for groceries etc, I get so stressed out as to which shop to go to.. oh the need to play fair and give them all a chance! sigh!

  5. Sounds like “Ray’s Original Pizza”!

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  7. It looks to me like both those store fronts belong to the same person!

  8. The one on the right is the original one!! also has a since date i guess… pretty famous!

  9. Also, there is a place in Rohini(NW Delhi) at Deepali Chowk, for its choley kulchey.. stalls named Santa, Banta, Basanta and so on.. atleast 4-5 of them

  10. It all depends on what you believe came first: the Roopak or the egg?

  11. Hi. Ourdelhistruggle,

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  12. The one on the right came first,but due to a family feud,the business was split up and hence,the left one came into existence.

  13. There’s a lot of this in Pakistan too, and I know of a place where there are three “Dahka Sweets” on the same intersection.

    Also, I love how waloras is setting up his of Roopak #2 right here 🙂

  14. Roopak was one store years ago ( 50]s, 60’s, 70’s ). The physical space is now split into two. They are the ones who started MDH spices (stands for Mahashayan di hatti i.e. Mahashaya’s store ). At some point the family split and the stores split. Why they both kept the same name, probably has a logical explanation.

  15. The one on the right is the original one. My father Mr. Mathur used to run it when I was growing up. It was a very popular store in the 60’s and 70’s.

  16. The original Roopak is the one on the right. That was d original shop, roopak since 1958 . They sell all kind of spices, dry fruits etc. Family controversy is a part of everyones life but what matters is the quality of the product. There is lot of difference between the quality of product.

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