Fish

Thursday, February 16, 2012

EXPO’ 89


On a new moon day, the usually lugubrious football ground was dazzling like a newly polished jewel. The odd bunch of indifferent school kids kicking a deflated football with the only motive of killing time was replaced by masses of humanity that would outnumber the whole town. And more were expected to turn up from neighboring villages. It was a bizarre and incredible new world of buzz, noise, glare, flair, dust, fest, litter and glitter. No! It was not the football world cup, not even the cricket world cup! It was the annual summer exhibition, fashionably christened as Expo 89 by an enterprising and way ahead of its time Municipal Committee. 

Exhibition! Fair! It was the olden day metaphor to a party! It was one hotchpotch of festivities: an all out attack of light and sound on our faculties. Loudspeakers stationed every few yards were mercilessly assaulting passer-by eardrums filling them with a curious amalgam of advertising promotions and item numbers from the latest flop movies. It was a scorching May and the already hot air was brought up to a simmer by the festoon of multi-colored Goliath bulbs and tube lights taller than humans. The unceasing din of the crowd and its hustle-bustle created a pandemonium beyond parallel. And then there was food!

Eating stalls scattered across the ground in a strange zigzag created a crystal maze that trapped passers-by with its scores of mouth-watering delicacies. Potato and onion bajjis fried in oil, fresh jilebis struggling to jump out of the frying pan straight into your mouth, wafer like appalams and pappadams in delightful shapes and exotic colors sizzling in oil and blossoming like flowers, peas seasoned with raw mango, sodas and colors of all types, idlis named after actresses, ice-creams and kulfis that were supposed to melt in your mouth but did so in your hands! Yet no fair is complete without the pinkish fluffy gossamer-like candy which is bigger than the face and sweeter than sugar. And it has always been a medical miracle to me as to how people gorge on all these and then manage to get on the Giant Wheel!

Ah.. the giant wheel! One simply remarkable invention! It is so huge that you can see it from your house in the adjacent village. But it is menacingly slow as it groans and whimpers its way up to the sky and limps back down as kids gasp at the stars with excitement and elders hold on to the railings and their dear lives.  And then there are trains circling the ground, the odd monkey performing better than movie stars, parrot having a ball telling people their karma, wannabe businessmen trying to sell you all kinds of stuff, horse rides, the lost dog looking for its master, child clinging on tight to her father’s finger, all just to spice up an already fascinatingly eventful day.

An added attraction (really!) was everyday a politician graced the fair and gave away exciting prices and a boring speech. It was the last day and so the Chief Minister was expected. Several fabulous prizes were for the taking; the grand prize was a newly refurbished Lambretta scooter which stood majestically in the center of the ground at an elevated pedestal decorated by flowers, lights and patrolling men. Several lucky folks hit the jackpot and walked away with bonanza prizes ranging from hair pins to pencil sharpeners, candy bars to Tiger brand underwear. It always remained a mystery as to who took the Lambretta home. Nevertheless, the excitement lasted a full year until Expo’ 90 came along. Expo’ 89 was my first fair and its memory is still fresh in my mind. Today somehow these things have fallen out of our favor and are on the verge of extinction. I, for one, wish I could go to such a fair and lose myself once again!   


39 comments:

  1. Oh you have described this soooo well!!!! I felt as though I was there. It also brought memories of the various expo type fairs I have been too- really wonderful. Should you come this way and visit- I will make sure you visit around the Puyallup Fair & and I will take you there- it will be similar- but not as extensive as you have described! More of an animal fair- with other attractions.

    Cannot begin to say how amazing your descriptions were!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah.. they are sooo wonderful indeed. Thank you so much for the invitation. That is soo sweet. I would love to see the Puyallup fair. Should be soo much fun. Thank you once again. I shall definitely take up that invitation. :)

      Delete
  2. Seriously, it used to be fun. I only remember going to Dussehra fair. Gaint wheel was, in fact is my favorite...:) BTW, such fairs still exist, come to my village if you want to experience wrestling, betting, stall foods and village beauties...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohh yeah.. the Dussehra fair. :) Giant wheel is just awesome. Yeah.. you are right. Such fairs still do exist in villages. Somehow the cities have moved on though sadly. :) Wow.. your village fair sounds very interesting. I would definitely love to come. :)

      Delete
  3. Such a nostalgic post, brought back so many wonderful memories. You have described each and every aspect so beautifully. As I read along, I remembered pictures in my head of the many such fairs I attended as a kid. Wonderful post. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Akshay. Yeah.. I saw some picture of the giant wheel somewhere and I felt so nostalgic. Then I sat down and wrote this one. They were soo much fun, the exhibitions. I miss them too.

      Delete
  4. The giant wheel :) And looking at the entire fair from the top :)
    Nice piece :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yep.. bird's eye view. :) That was so much fun. An exhibition was an amazing place to pass your time.

      Delete
  5. Remember visiting the fun fair at my place on Gandhi Jayanti every year...and on Navratri too when a huge Ravana effigy would be burnt!!

    Here's a fun award for your blog..
    http://titli15081977.blogspot.in/2012/02/liebster-blog-award.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah.. Ravana effigy burning. That is a really grand ceremony. It is a spectacle. I havent watched one though. Would love to.

      Thank you so much for the award. Really a privilege. :)

      Delete
  6. U made me remember Karavali Utsav that use to take place every year in my town Karwar, but unfortunately due to some political issues its been stopped since some years but even then such fare's still exists in nearby villages of my place. And Gaint wheel??? Arggghh its so scary :-(

    Nicely written as always:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karavali Utsav sounds very exciting. I am sad it was stopped. :( Yeah.. I agree.. they still exist in villages (thankfully!) Giant wheels are scary sometimes especially if they are fast.

      Delete
  7. Mmmm,nostalgia time! Life was simple, pleasures were simple and inexpensive back then. (I realise my age only when I see such posts when '89 brings back nostalgia to the next generation!) FYI these fairs or melas as still thriving in smaller towns and villages though the attractions might have changed. But would we care to go for one save to revive old memories? Wouldn't Gen Z kids rather go to a mall and 'hang out'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep.. very true. Simple but beautiful pleasures of life. Priceless. Yeah.. I do manage to go to some of these even today in villages but not as much I could in those days. As you said, malls and multiplexes have become the norm these days though they are not my thing! :)

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jen for the lovely award. I am really thrilled and excited. :) Thanks once again for the appreciation.

      Delete
  9. Hi, Good One. Brought back a lot of memories. We also used to have that exhibit of mirrors where you could see yourself extremely fat,thin,short,tall, with just your head blown out of proportion etc. And the huge appalams ...ALways yummy.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very warm welcome to you Jaish. :) I am so glad you liked it and it struck a chord of nostalgia. Oh yeah.. I remember those mirrors. They are extremely entertaining and fun. :) I love those appalams. I used to gorge on them. :)

      Delete
  10. You've got a surprise.. Check out..

    http://miracleshappen13.blogspot.in/2012/02/wow-now-im-versatile-too.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Pranita. I am really humbled to receive the award. Thank you so much for the appreciation and encouragement. :)

      Delete
  11. NOSTALGIAAA :P :D
    every man has it right.. lovely read RAJ...
    typical rocking post of yours bro :)
    giant wheel tells us a story... LIFE IS A CYCLE :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Deepak. :) Am very glad you liked it and it made you nostalgic. :)

      Life is a cycle - very true indeed. Beautifully said. :)

      Delete
  12. :)) brought a smile as i kept nodding at the imagery because i could see it unfold. my story / memories from my village too - Ditto :D
    nice read - short and sweetly nostalgic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Sujatha. :) Yeah.. the imagery was still fresh in my mind somehow. Guess it was imprinted. :) Those days and the exhibitions especially in villages are so special. :)

      Delete
  13. Oh.How I wish I could go to one of those Expos which used to be conducted.
    More than anything, we used to be excited about the games and the food which used to be available there.Full of fun and laughter with our near and dear ones. How I wish I had the chance to go again to such an expo! I really felt I was reading my note of having visited an Expo, years back.
    Nice one :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah Ashwini. It used to be one fun experience.. esp the games and food. Thank you so much and I am glad you felt like reading a page out of your own life. :) I too so wish I can go to one such exhibition. :)

      Delete
  14. A politician who gave away exciting prizes and boring speeches! Enjoyed reading your post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very warm welcome to you Manreet. :) Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I am really glad you enjoyed reading the post. :)

      Delete
  15. aaah the sweet nostalgia :). It reminds me of the Mysore Dasara days when we used to wait so much for the events to start and to see a part of the city lit and the entire fan fare of the event. The article brings back so many great memories.. Thank you for a wonderful read bro..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very warm welcome to you. :) Thank you for the lovely comment. I am really glad this post reminded you of your Mysore Dasara days. Yeah.. they are wonderful memories, aren't they. :) Really nostalgic. :)

      Delete
  16. My eyes lit up, my mouth started watering as I was reading your post. Your words made Expo 89 come alive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really glad to hear that that the narrative was able to evoke the feeling of an exhibition. That really means I miss it enough. :) Thank you so much for the lovely comment.

      Delete
  17. you write like a dream; powerful and evocative.

    we have a similar event coming up in our town, it's an annual thing called 'Mela'. may be i ll go and check it out this time. its been almost 20 years since i have visited last time.

    amazing post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Deb for the compliment. :) Oh.. yeah.. Melas have been so much fun. I had been to one of them when I was quite young. yep.. you should go for it. :)

      Delete
  18. there is wonder in those words, the moment I started to read everything came out alive.. wonderful illustration.. its a mystery how certain things so dear to heart can go alien all of a sudden..!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. :) I am so glad the narrative was illustrative and brought things alive. I totally agree.. some thing stay so fresh in our hearts that you can actually play them through your mind in front of your eyes. :)

      Delete
  19. Such a wonderful post,bringing in great memories and very well said:)Happy to follow ur blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very warm welcome to you Viya. thank you so much for following. and am so happy you liked the post. :)

      Delete
    2. -Good piece of information.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...