There’s lots to do at Bidhannagar Mela (Utsav) this winter. The fair is stationed at Central Park Fairgrounds till January 9, from 2pm to 9pm and was inaugurated last Friday by minister Firhad Hakim.
“Such popular fairs keep money circulating in the economy,” said Hakim, who was joined by ministers Sujit Bose, Bratya Basu and Sadhan Pande. “Mayoral council members Rajesh Chirimar and Debraj Chakraborty particularly worked tirelessly to make this fair happen,” said mayor Krishna Chakraborty. “May the fair reach the scale of a festival!” Here are 19 picks from the fair —
1. Wrought iron lampshades
Where: K 16
What: Not only do these items have intricate work on them the vendor, Mohd. Fahim of Uttar Pradesh, will customise it to emit pink, green and blue lights too. “While most of the lamps run on electricity, the smaller ones have tea light candles fitted inside or run on cell batteries,” he says.
Price: Rs 120 to 5,000
2. Winter dresses
Where: On the way to the play area from Gate 1
What: Cute tops and short dresses for winter. “The base is thermal wear but some have feather on top for look. They’re imported from Thailand,” says Prabir Singh.
Price: Around Rs 650 for tops, Rs 700 for dresses
3. Chest of drawers
Where: On the way from gate 1 to the play area
What: Chest of five drawers with Ben 10 artwork on it. They have ones with floral or wood-finish too. “Each drawer can hold up to 10kg,” says Md Shohaib.
Price: Rs 6,000
4. Woolen palazzo-kurta
What: Put on a woollen kameez from Kashmir and you won’t need to cover the outfit with a shawl or jacket. “They’re perfect for the Calcutta winter,” says stall keeper A.H. Khan.
Price: Rs 1,850
Where: Kids zone near gate 1
What: Huge orbs are floating in a water-filled enclosure; you are enter them and try to make your way across the pond. Of course, you roll over more often than you stand but that’s the fun of it! “This is the first time we’ve got these at a fair,” says Gouam Roy, who adds that the ride is not restricted for kids. “Anyone weighing up to 90kg can have a go.”
Price: Rs 90 for seven minutes
6. Paper craft purse
Where: E 16
What: Children of an NGO Artemis have made handbags woven out of strips of old newspaper. “There are many layers of paper to ensure it’s sturdy. The bag shuts with magnet, has a pocket inside and is given a coat of lacre to make it water-proof,” says stall-keeper Bireshwar Banerjee.
Price: “We haven’t fixed prices for our items. Customers may pay whatever they think the items are worth,” says Banerjee.
7. Toy knife cum sword
Where: A hawker near gate 1 play area
What: Innovative toys from UP. There are plastic knives that become swords in a swish, magnetic toys that change form and colour, tumbling marbles, balancing balls and of course good old tops and yoyos. “None of these are Chinese. They are all made by my family members,” says Ayush Singh proudly.
Price: Rs 300 for the toy knife-cum-sword.
8. Hot pads
Where: Near gate 1 play area
What: These hot pads come with attractive velvet covers and even a pocket to insert one’s arm and guide to the area of pain. “Although it’s originally meant to relieve pains, many are buying these as relief from the cold,” laughs Md. Anwar. “It needs to be charged for about five minutes and stays warm for two hours.” Even the charging socket is built to look like a cute accessory of the pad.
Price: Rs 350
9. Wooden flower vases
Where: K 23
What: “These vases are hand-pained with natural dyes and then designs such as coconut trees are carved out on them,” says Elyaz Uddin of Karnataka.
Price: Rs 450
10. Cylindrical hand bag
What: The bag is made of foam, with punk art adorning the walls. It can be slung around the shoulder or gripped by the handle. “These bags are imported from Korea and the first lot has already sold out. I’ll keep replenishing stock,” says Ratna Talukdar.
Price: Rs 550
11. Jeans print-tiffin box
What: Sturdy lunch boxes with triple-wall vacuum insulation to keep food hot for up to six hours. “Plus they come in cases with unusual prints like wool, denim, football and maple wood,” says Amit Singh of Vaya, that makes the boxes.
Price: Rs 2,800 for boxes of two containers
12. Turkish showpieces
What: Bright ceramic showpieces of the traditional costumes of Turkish kings. “Except that it’s also a pen holder,” says Hakan Kurpuz. “Animal motifs do very well at this fair too so we’ve got many cats and owls also.
Price: Rs 600 for the pen holders
13. Portable stool
Where: On the way from gate 1 to the play area
What: Next time you’re headed to a queue, carry this stool in your bag. If folded, it becomes flat and when stretched open becomes a stool, capable of holding up to 150kg of weight.
Price: Rs 280, 350, 450 for three sizes
14. Kids’ bags
Where: K 40
What: Schoolbags for play school students with Minions cut outs at the back or Doraemon-shaped coin bags. They have bags with motifs of other superheroes too.
Price: Rs 180 for the Minions, Rs 80 for the coin bags
Where: Next to the play area of Gate 1
What: Come to this stall for authentic Turkish deserts and savouries. “There’s Turkish delight, a hazelnut candy, chilli bread, pudding and baklava, that is extremely difficult to prepare,” says a city-based Turkish gentleman taking charge of the store. “We’ve kept the prices modest so maximum people can try them. It’s a means of cultural exchange for us.”
Price: Rs 60 for Pistachio Baklava and Rs 50 for Walnut Baklava.
Where: The decorative steps on the footpath outside gate 4 and opposite F 2
What: Vendors from Darjeeling have brought very many succulents but the best sellers are Jade Plant, that helps control pollution, and Lemon Pine. “Just rub the leaves of the latter for a lovely fragrance to fill the room,” smiles Meghna Pradhan. “It also repels mosquitoes.” The best part? They only need to be watered once a week.
Price: Rs 150 to 800 for Jade plant, Rs 150 to 450 for Lemon Pine.
17. Animal-shaped key chains
Where: A hawker selling toys near gate 1 play area
What: Cute wooden key chains shaped like dogs with dangling paws, mice with long snouts, frogs with bulging eyes…
Price: Rs 30
Where: K 42
What: Contrary to popular belief, kahwa is not Kashmiri tea. “It’s a refreshing drink that fills you with warmth,” says Manzoor Bhat. “It’s made of saffron, green elaichi, darchini and no tea leaves. But we have to market it as Kashmiri tea. Otherwise people would not understand what it is.”
Price: Rs 30 per cup
19. Jhal pithe
Where: F 2A (food court)
What: “Everyone loves pithe-puli but so many have blood sugar these days. For them we have come up with spicy pithe, sans sugar,” smiles Renuka Biswas. The crispy savoury is made of green chillies and coriander, besides rice that is being ground on a dheki on the spot. The dishes are being cooked on wood fire.
Price: Rs 10 per piece
Source: The Telegraph