Over 50 years of fun, frolic and fair

Over 50 years of fun, frolic and fair

Driving on the main road past Sunder Nagar market, one cannot miss the lit up tent which houses one of the oldest Diwali melas of the City. So popular is the annual two-day fair that the market’s name has become synonymous with it.

In its 51st year, Metrolife visits the popular fair ground and finds that its charm is intact both for the visitor and stall owners.

“As a youngster, I used to set up a hoopla stall here. It was a major excitement then and it is from here that I learnt my first lessons on how to become a businessman,” shares Atul Khanna, secretary of the Sunder Nagar Market Association. Between arranging things and greeting fellow residents, Atul shares the excitement that used to be present in his home, “Setting up a games stall has always been full of fun and excitement, which started from home and ended up in the mela area, shared among the children of Sunder Nagar. Later in life I saw my son putting up the same hooplah stall.”  His wife, Devna Khanna, secretary of Women’s Club adds, “There used to be massive excitement in the house. From buying hoopla rings to getting the ribbons to decorate the stall, we used to drain ourselves year after year before and during the Diwali mela.”

Similar memories are shared by others who feel that the mela has become much more commercialised that it used to be, when it started with women from the colony cooking delicacies like bedhmi-aloo and baking cupcakes to be sold during the mela. There are similar delicacies now too, but the stalls are taken up by outsiders, except for the game stalls which still remain with the colony kids.

The place currently, looks more like a mall which has a huge variety of products. From handmade body care products to assorted chocolates and accessories, the mela has everything a shoppaholic can desire and more. It also sports a variety of cuisines for gourmets which range from Italian to American cuisines to of course the all time favourite - Indian.

Most of the stalls keep in mind the festive season and thus stock a lot of apparels, gifting options and home decor products for Diwali. This includes lamps, earthen and metal diyas and even sculptures. Anushree Oswal, a first-time stall owner shares, “We have been visiting this mela for the last 10-15 years and when I stared making handmade chocolates, I decided to rent a stall in this mela for it will give good exposure to my products.” Along with the regulars and the new comers, there are a number of NGOs who also put up stalls to sold everything ranging from khakras to candles.

Taking up some prized space is a giant ferris wheel and Columbus in the backdrop which give the mela its true flavour. The Mela takes place over two days and one will have to wait for 2013 to visit it now.

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