Devon Avenue – A haven for Indians
The Devon Avenue is a haven(ue) for the Indians and to Pakistanis. You get almost every Indian stuff here. Especially if you are a desi who is living in or travelling to America, you would long to be in India ASAP. But you needn’t. If u are travelling from the downtown Chicago, Devon is slightly away. If u are lucky enough to stay over in a north or a northwest suburb, you can have a multiple entry tourist visa to Devon Avenue once a week.
As you enter the narrow crowded street of Devon Avenue located at a North suburb of Chicago, you see, hear, smell and feel India allover. Imagine a crowded Bombay bazaar or the festive crowd at T.Nagar in Chennai. Thats Devon. The street has parallel parking both sides and just a small space to move in with your compact cars. There are quite a few lanes that cut across to facilitate parking. It is slightly shabby area for the standards of America. Garbage lying all over. Bhangra music and Indie Pop Mix together in the air to make a jugalbandhi in your ears and the smell of Samosas and fresh Indian vegetables would remind you of your Indian home town whichever it is. Patel Brothers is a famous shop out here for grocery and chat items. Though you don’t get bhel puri and stuff like that here, there are couple of other north Indian joints out here that provide you a wide variety of them. For South Indian people, who long to eat idli, vada & dosas, Arya Bhavan and Annapurna serve them well.
The highlight of Devon is there isn’t a national difference of Pakistanis and Indians. They are all over and you can’t make out the difference. When I was there last weekend, Pakistanis was celebrating their Independence Day there. And to my surprise a Pakistani shop was selling Indian flags similar to an Indian Hindu shop selling Green Pakistani flags. Isn’t that great? Amazing !!.
And I could Hrithik see all over the place. Kareena too. Their movie ‘Mujhse Dhosti Karoge‘s mega size blowups welcome you to DVD shops. All DVDs are available from old B&W Devdas to current Devdas and Madhuri’s green dress in Maardaala (Devdas) is the most talked about thing.
Indians are celebrating it next week on 17th August and the expected crowd is about 30,000. A parade is arranged and the Indian celebrities are fond of this crowd. I saw pictures of Kapil Dev, Kiran Bedi and couple of other celebrities with M.F Hussain visiting an Indian Bookstore. This time it is Mahima Choudhry who is leading the star of the Independence Day parade. Is Leander Paes coming too???.