After opening its gates to ordinary junta on November 19th, the 29th India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan is hitting it big. Kulwaran Bajwa, who came all the way from Jalandhar, said, “I’m amazed by the sheer variety. I only wish it was less congested.”
That was being too wishful. Saturday was one of the most crowded days since the fair started. A large number of people thronged the international pavilions. The Hong Kong section drew many buyers. It housed jute bags with US president Barack Obama’s pictures on them, priced at Rs 100, that were selling like Dan Brown bestsellers. “Though these are jute bags, they look chic. Having images of iconic figures like Bob Marley, Che Guevara is very common. But having Obama on your bag or T-shirt makes for a cool statement,” said Manthan Arora, a student. The Hong Kong stalls were also offering blankets and towels with prints of Disney characters priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,5000. Closer home, artisans and entrepreneurs from the northeastern states were showcasing products ranging from water hyacinth furniture to bamboo beer mugs and ethnic stoles.
Food plazas also saw good attendance. “I’m loving the food sections. There are food items I’ve never heard of,” said Nitin Malhotra, a Noida resident. “But there is no proper place where you can sit and eat. We had to opt for the footpath.”
There were some unappetising sights as well. “Look, there’s so much litter around these food stalls,” said Neha, a student. “People don’t care about cleanliness.” However, Neha, a self-described ‘nature freak’, was glad with the ban on polybags at the fair.
“I loved the folk dances from South India,” said Parul Arora of Malviya Nagar. “From dances to dishes to bus services, I’m enjoying it all,” said Garima Maheshwari, a DU student.