Strolls through stalls

Strolls through stalls

If there is actually something like post-event depression, then it must have hit the people of Bengaluru hard. The curtains have fallen on ‘Aero India 2017’ and the skies seem unusually quiet. It is a long wait till the next edition of this biennial exhibition of military strength comes alive; one of the reasons why people were seen flocking to the souvenir stalls at the show to pick up keepsakes.

Caps, T-shirts, mugs, lapel pins, wallets, clocks — a wide variety of items were available in the stalls which did brisk business during the last two days of the show. With just four stalls for souvenirs in the entire air base, people had to wait a bit to pick out their favourite. But this was no deterrent as the visitors enthusiastically examined t-shirts and tried on caps with names of aircraft and logos of teams etched on them.

Srikanth Parashay, part of the catering team of JW Marriott, could be seen examining T-shirts with gusto. “This is my second time at the event and I am having a lovely time. I came to buy some momentos as I am crazy about planes and machines. When I heard they were selling T-shirts here, I just had to come and check them out.”

His friend, Naina Bisht, a first timer at the show, says, “I just came along with him. I would have liked to buy a T-shirt but I am pretty sure they won’t have anything in my size.” This feeling was reinforced a minute later when the stall owner behind her was heard telling a customer that they have only medium, large and extra large sizes.
Newly weds Adarsh Patil and Manasa proudly display the lapel pins they bought at the Surya Kiran stall. “I collect these pins as I am from the same field,” says Adarsh, an aeronautical engineer.

“I was looking for the Surya Kiran pin which were not manufactured earlier. This is my fourth visit to this show and I always pick up something or the other. I buy caps too but lapel pins are a favourite as I can use them all the time and show off that I belong to this aviation field,” he says with a laugh.

“The items are quite reasonably priced but they should work on the quality. People wouldn’t mind paying even Rs 500 for an item as long as it lasts for some time,” he adds.
A little further away from them, Flight lieutenant Ashish Mishra could be seen holding two bags filled with purchases. “I am a fan of the Surya Kiran team; in fact, they were my motivation to join the force. So I could not give up this chance of picking up souvenirs from their stall.”

Ashish bought two T-shirts, a small shirt for his nephew, six badges to give to his friends and shot glasses. “Everyone I know is a fan of this team so they will be thrilled with these gifts,” he says.

M Nautiyal, Wing commander in charge of Surya Kiran stall, says he is used to this kind of response. “Our job is to be associated with products which make the people aware of men in the forces, especially the Surya Kiran team. Since the products are meant to attract the youth of the nation to join the forces, we select products that will attract people and motivate them. Some of the items are for the children, some for youth and some for the passionate collectors,” he says, adding that the fastest moving products were the T-shirts and the caps.

The food stalls too raked in the bucks as people made the most of their day out with friends and families. The stalls inside the various pavilions saw mixed crowds as business professionals and defence experts rubbed shoulders with the downright curious and selfie-lovers.

Software development professionals Shivani Kapoor and Meenu Kamal were sent by their company to take note of the latest trends in the world of defence.

“The stalls inside have displayed various security and surveillance solutions. Companies from all over the world are showcasing the best of what they have and it is quite exciting,” says Shivani.

Saying that she would have liked to know more about the software part of these systems, Meenu refutes the idea that it was a highbrow crowd inside.

“There are virtual reality and shooting games inside, to attract the common people. We could see many people inside taking pictures alongside the models of the aircraft,” she says.

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