Hyderabad: It is the one place where you can go with eyes shut and yet find what you want. No prizes for guessing. Even a dimwit will say it is the numaish. The annual consumer fair springs no surprises. It remains the same year after year except for some cosmetic changes here and there.
Regular visitors know where to find Kashmiri silks, readymade garments, leather goods and toys. These stalls come up exactly at the same spot every year.
“I find nothing new. But I still go to the exhibition by force of habit,” says Irfan Khan, who has been visiting the numaish for close to two decades without fail. Come January the city sees breathlessness as the All India Industrial Exhibition gets underway.
Basically, the exhibition is intended to provide a vibrant market place for traders to do business face to face. Manufacturers from the state and across the country choose to launch their products from here.
But of late big players are dropping out with availability of other advertisement avenues like social media and audio-visual communication platforms. For the last few years, BHEL, the state irrigation department and a few major electronic companies have stopped displaying their products at the exhibition.
With the numaish attracting traders from all over the country, the Exhibition Society is concentrating more on generating revenue to support its 18 educational institutions in providing quality and affordable education.
The society rakes in over Rs 100 crore by way of ticket and revenue from the 2,500 stalls. There are roughly 24 categories of stalls dealing in various goods that do business here. Of course women entrepreneurs, self-help groups and manufacturers from the state get preference.
Has monotony and lack of novelty robbed the numaish of charm in its 79th year? The answer is ‘no’. Repetitiveness notwithstanding, people still flock to it during the 46-day long period it is held. “Most of the people come here for recreation and not to find anything new,” says Aditya Margam, former secretary, Exhibition Society.
This view is shared by many visitors. Throughout the year the city hosts different kinds of exhibitions and people get to see and buy a variety of things. But Numaish occupies a special niche and is identified with Hyderabad culture.
Many families make two to three visits to the exhibition — first to see, then to choose and finally to buy articles. Some people simply like to saunter around and enjoy the old Hindi hit songs played there. “I find the Exhibition Ground the best place to beat the stress,” says Ramesh Kumar, a senior citizen echoing the view of many others.
Some families turn the exhibition grounds into an open air picnic spot. They bring cooked food from home and eat leisurely. “Where else can you indulge in such fun?” asks Asma, a housewife.
Is there anything new this year? Yes, one can find a dust-free and greener environment. More LCD screens have been put up at strategic points to watch the goings-on. Also a brand new statue of Mahatma Gandhi in sitting posture, similar to the one in the State Assembly has been put up.
A new stage with lawns has also been developed for holding cultural programmes.