The Numaish - an annual extravaganza

The Numaish - an annual extravaganza

Numaish has reached its last lap for this year. It has fun, frolic and entertainment and lots of shopping till you drop

The Numaish has reached its last lap for this year. It has fun, frolic and entertainment and lots of shopping till you drop. The entire area was sprawling with crowds and revelers to the core as the last closing days were nearing. After the Corona Pandemic such care free enthusiastic crowds were witnessed for the first time. There was neither any dearth in their spirits nor any trace of fear on their countenance.

For a true Hyderabadi, Numaish-Masnuat-e-Mulki or Numaish, a mere spectacle, in Urdu language, an annual consumer exhibition held in Hyderabad, is and was always an annual ritual, an annual extravaganza. The exhibition has remained the only ever of its kind in the world to be organized at a stretch for a 46- day period at its 23, acre permanent venue in Nampally called as Exhibition grounds. Numaish was started in 1938 at Public Gardens, by a group of graduates from Osmania University to show case local products. Enthused by the good response the organizers decided to make it as an annual event and use the earnings to promote education. Beginning with just 50 stalls and investing a -capital of Rs 2.50, yes it was rupees two and paise fifty just that amount, a shocking truth, it has today evolved into one of the biggest Industrial Exhibitions in the country. In 1946, It was moved from Bag-e-Aam, The Public Gardens, by the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Sir Mirza Ismail and Inaugurated by the last Nizam of erstwhile Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan.

Twice Numaish had a break, once in 1947-48 due to the turmoil in the aftermath of India's independence with Hyderabad acceding to the Indian Union, the event bounced back in 1949. Again in 2020 due to the Covid-19 situation. It was later resumed from February,25,2022. From a mere 50 stalls in 1938, the number had risen to 2400 stalls in 2023. The look of the stalls has undergone a sea change, more towards customer friendly to the availability of goods from all over the country is incredible. Today the venue is teeming with people of all ages and all groups. It houses handlooms and handicrafts from different states, dry fruits from Kashmir and other states of India, electronic gadgets and unique house hold items and of course it features joy rides, eateries and other entertainment options that suits the young generation. You name it, you get it. All these are a big draw. The Toy Train, the Giant Wheel, and the Maut ka Kuan (well of death) and Cup-Saucer ride always remained the all-time favorites of old and new generation of Numaish visitors. The dazzling, twinkling lights of The Giant Wheel, created a great attraction and even now it creates a magnificent view from far. The sweet smell of the cotton candy, the sizzling fried Mirchi Bajji aroma, the special of Hyderabad, touched the nostrils from a distance. Now, you have eateries of all cuisines, catered to all classes of people. Money is freely spent. The amount of money that flows from the fat wallets tells you about the spending capacity of Hyderabadis. U-Foam pillows, a must purchase of every family, the tik-tiki whose loud sound echoed all corners, and the lara -lappa (a small ball sized rubber balloon filled with water, a rubber string being attached to push it down and pull it up) pop- corn (who doesn't love) were the special favorites of children and adults way back in 60's and 70's.

In spite of technology and tech gizmos and electronic media and entertainment now, nothing to beat yesteryears baritone voice of Amin Sayani and his announcements of late 50's to 70's which started with Bhayiyon and Behnon (brothers and sisters), this is Radio Numaish. Not to be missed was the 'Missing Children's announcement booth almost in the middle of the ground announcing in Telugu, Hindi, Urdu and English describing in detail the missing tiny-tots and beseeching the parents to collect their dear child as fast as they could, saying 'aap ka bacha/bachhi bahut roraha hai/ rorahi hai'. The place most of the time was a meeting point for friends as there was no other communication available. There were popular Hindi and Telugu songs and commercials being played in between the important announcements. Jingles like the Farooky Dant Manjan, Zinda Tilismat, Wood wards gripe water along with a baby's cry were all great attractions and fond memories for old Hyderabadis. The men with Sheep skin bags filled with water was sprinkled all over the ground to ensure there was no dust from the muddy ground as people poured in large numbers. It was fun and fascination for children to run along with them playing with the water that oozed out. Today it is mechanized water sprinklers that do the job and you don't see any excited toddler running along.

A small Numaish runs outside the three entry gates namely gate number 1 The Gandhi Bhavan Gate, gate number 2, The Ajanta gate and gate number 3, The Goshamahal Gate. Ajanta Gate is the biggest and always remained the main entrance of Numaish. The small vendors of toys, food items, clothes, artificial flowers, small electronic gadgets and other house hold items make a decent business during the fare. Sometimes these are more attractive and cheaper than the inside items. Here you can test the bargaining power and patience of the buyer and the seller.

With all the colours and tastes inside one boundary, the Numaish stands out to be a perfect example of a successful free market business. The Exhibition is not just about artisans and display of goods but It's about the traditional art and different aspects of life being show-cased from all over the country. An exhibition of this sort can be engaging, fun loving, serious and satisfying. A beautiful face will age and a perfect body will change but the Numaish is becoming attractive and Hi- Tech with time and age captivating huge crowds. It is the Soul and Spirit of Numaish that would continue to live on.

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