‘Petti kadai’ – the corner shop

Across Indian cities, towns, and villages, there are small shops called ‘petti-kadais’ known by the local language equivalent in each region.  The name loosely translates to the ‘box shop’, not because they sell boxes, but because they are shaped like boxes. Small, compact shops on every street.

The wonderful thing about these shops (thousands of which exist to this very day) is that they can cater to 99% of your daily shopping and convenience requirements.

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   Image courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

From neatly stacked glass jars stocking all kinds of delicious candies and savouries, to veggies and fruit, to basic kitchen provisions, to stationery to shampoo satchets to washing soap to newpapers and magazines, these ‘petti kadais’ have it all.

When we were kids, most of our school assignments were incomplete without a visit to the neighbourhood ‘petti kadai’.

These shops were usually manned by a single person, who  could work magic, and produce any thing one required, from its recesses.

We often ran to the ‘petti kadais’ with our weekly pocket money, to buy poppins, cumin seed candy, lollipops and many other yummy treats.

These days the ‘petti kadais’ sell top-up for phone calling cards, offer door delivery services, and a wider-range of products.

Their ruthless and efficient use of space has to be seen to be believed!

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16 thoughts on “‘Petti kadai’ – the corner shop

  1. Marissa Bergen

    When I first saw the pictures and started reading your description, it reminded me of some stores in NY. A lot of little ‘bodegas’ (what they are called in NY) sell candy and liquor and then also a lot of spices and incense. They are usually owned by people of Indian descent (as far as I can tell anyway) but something tells me they are not quite as well stocked as the true petti kadais.

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  2. Asteway Gattew

    We also have similar small shops through out Ethiopia. We call them ‘yesefer suqe’ in Amharic. All my hard earned cash when I was a kid was spent at these shops. Similar to the ones in India, their use of space is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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