Sunday, January 24, 2010


Last sunday I had been to Numaish - the exhibition held every year at Nampally, Hyderabad in the months of January and February. I generally don't like crowds and this has been the prime reason that I avoid crowded shopping places including exhibitions. So, what makes me go to Numaish ? Of course, I went well before the crowd could come in and was out just as it was getting crowded. But still, I wondered as to what attracted me to this place, every year that I have been in Hyderabad.

Answer - 'History' is what brings me to this place. Numaish was started by the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1938. Then, it was called the 'Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki'. It was meant to display goods produced indigenously in the Hyderabad state. Today, even Numaish has gone global with people from across the country and even outside coming to sell things. So, as per tradition, every year, Numaish returns for a 45 day rendezvous with the people of Hyderabad.

I keep thinking that I am traversing the same, though at a different age. I walk in and I try to understand, to smell the oldness of the event. I try to imagine what it must have been during the reign of the Nizam, one of the richest men in the world.

Imagine, men in their sherwanis, women decked in all their finery coming to buy the best produce from the state - pearls, gems, clothes, handicrafts and other items of everyday use. Bargaining and selling would have been the norm then too I guess. So, I go to Numaish trying to relive in my own way the glory of the Nizam era and also in my own small way, to continue the tradition, to keep it alive.

We entered around 2:00 p.m., well in advance of the 3:00 p.m. actual opening time. Believe me, the hour before the exhibition is the best; for me, even better than the actual, for it is then that one gets to see the people, the work they put in, their lives. The people who come to sell their wares live in the Numaish grounds, in their stalls. Though not as alive when the crowd is in, the time before the exhibition starts, gives an insight into the preparations done for the actual event that stretches to midnight, everyday. So, at 2:00 in front of almost every stall, one of the members had started a fire and was cooking rotis and curry. The others were busy trying to put the items on display.

Yes, I do make rotis. But as I watched this man deftly making rotis, I was transfixed. I stood there for few moments unable to look away. That simple act of him making rotis was so original, so captivating. In that, I saw life - the life of every salesman part of Numaish. He maybe from a faraway place, living by selling his wares. He sees thousands pass by, interacts with them, tries to make them happy by selling his wares at the best price. In the bigger scheme of things, he is invisible. But, he is important. He is the present of Numaish, like me. Tomorrow, we may be gone, but both of us have been an important part of history, for it is we who make Numaish what it is. He looked up at me and for a moment had a quizzical look. Then, he smiled. I was a little embarassed but then, I guess he understood. I believe he read my thoughts.

We think we are individuals, independent. But we are all connected, somewhere, someway in the bigger scheme of things. We may not know each other, we may not even remember that out paths crisscrossed, we may not know that we have traded something with someone else, be it in a kind act, or selling a product. We think we are random beings in this world. But then, sometimes a small, unimportant event makes you realize that you are part of a whole, a whole you can only imagine, but can never see nor comprehend completely.

1 comment:

Kam said...

This is a nice experience madam.

Occasionally, experiences of this kind, which really seem unimportant, will give more insight, which is the real light.

I should say, this is really a nice experience.