Come January and all roads lead to Hyderabad’s ‘Numaish’ or All India Industrial Exhibition which is on from 1st January to 15th February. The Numaish has been an annual pilgrimage of sorts to the citizens of Hyderabad and Secunderabad since it started in 1938. It started modestly as a local exhibition with only 100 stalls and it now has over 2600 stalls from all over India, 25 lakh annual visitors as well as stalls with products from Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Bangladesh too. The Numaish has its page on Facebook and there has even been a stamp released to honour it!

I have been visiting the Numaish since my childhood. At first the trinkets, candy floss and attractions like the mini train on tracks, motorcycle rider in the ‘Well of Death’ fascinated me, now it is the Patthar ka Gosh, Hareez, a close cousin of Haleem, fried fish and shops selling Lucknow suits, Rajasthani Saris, Kashmiri dry fruit, Leather bags and Bed sheets and Quilts that draws me to the Fair. The Giant Wheel hasn’t lost its charm although newer, noisier and scarier rides jostle for space alongside my favorite ride and the mini train is now on wheels.

The entrance is still Rs 10 on weekdays and 20 on weekends and the entrance is still full of assorted beggars and peddlers of popcorn and toys. But the simple and beautiful fish made out of hand painted paper, intricately folded and stuck onto a reel of thread has been replaced by battery operated toys flashing lights and making screeching sounds, enough to give a Police Car’s siren a run for its money.

I used to go with my 3 aunts and mother by 2 auto rickshaws when I was a small girl. Now I go in a car which is parked miles away and the charge for this ‘convenience’ is Rs 100. I used to have more fun in the auto, although I used to be constantly told to sit quietly and not stick my head out of the window, much like I admonish my dogs these days. As I grew to be a gangling pre-teen, sometimes the auto driver used to refuse to take 3 passengers, to which my Aunt once said, “Par yeh to sirf bacchi hai” to which the driver retorted Hydera-baddy style, “Aise to main bhi meri Maa ka Bachha hun!” Then I had thrown a tantrum and threatened to walk to the exhibition a good 20 miles away if my Aunts ever used the same phrase again to describe a growing child, who was already a head and shoulder taller than my petite Aunts, but now I can only smile at these memories as two of my aunts have since passed away.

Ladies’ Day in the good old days was the Best. I used to watch open mouthed at some of the ladies dressed to kill in their colourful best. It was not uncommon to see a flashy electric blue khameez, lime green salwaar, gold dupatta and silver sandals on the same woman. Mix and Miss-match used to be the order of the day as the ladies vied with each other to make an exhibition of themselves. It was cool for kids to buy and wear coolers and shades although it was already dark. Or maybe they were just protecting their eyes from the fashion glare!

Haggling was and is still the order of the day. I have honed in my bargaining skills at our Numaish and after every shopping victory after a brief episode of bargaining in Bangkok or Singapore’s Chinatown, I have said a silent thank you to the Numaish for having taught me the trick of stating your price, which is less than half of the shopkeeper’s price and pretending to walk away until the shopkeeper calls you back. It works every time. After all, I cut my bargaining teeth at Hyderabad’s Numaish.


33 responses »

  1. Smita Luthra says:

    What a lovely description, Beyniaz! Love the humour you have interspersed in the writeup. Very interesting account. Makes me want to go there right away… 🙂 I could visualize the glittering blue-green-gold getup you have described. Lovely! 🙂

    • Beyniaz says:

      Thanks Smita for your lovely comment. Have you been to the Industrial Exhibition this year?

      • Smita Luthra says:

        No, Beyniaz. Not doing much shopping these days. 😦 Currently grappling with a shifted center of gravity. But I do plan to get back to all shopping places with a vengeance in the near future. 🙂

  2. Dear Beyniaz,

    This one I am not going to miss out when I am visiting Hyderabad next.

    Exhibitions of all kinds excite me. The only part is that I start out as a surfer and end up as a buyer of things I really don’t need.

    Liked your introduction to Numaish.

    • Beyniaz says:

      Dear Shail,
      You have to visit Hyd’bad soon and in Numaish Season. Today is coincidentally the last day where prices are rock bottom.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  3. deepika says:

    Attractive ‘Nimaish’loaded with your memories.

  4. Indrani Talukdar says:

    I lived in Hyderabad once- I was posted there as Newstime Deputy magazine Editor. I feel sorry to have missed the Numaish. Maybe sometime soon…

    • Beyniaz says:

      Glad to see you here, Indrani. I used to sometimes send in pictures and short write-ups for the lenstime page of Newstime years ago.

  5. Irene says:

    Sounds exciting and this time your blog didn’t leave me hungry 🙂

    • Beyniaz says:

      Irene, good to see you here…and am not writing about food as I need to go on a diet and that is impossible for me! 🙂

  6. Lolly Dee says:

    I try to go at least once every year love the small small stalls jam packed with stuff and love bargaining. Been twice already with out of towners who haven’t had their fill and want to go again it’s fun.

    • Beyniaz says:

      Lolly, good to see you here and learn that you and so many others are enjoying the local flavour at our very own Numaish!

  7. Sonal Shree says:

    All roads will lead to Beyniaz’s house this time for this exhibition followed by tasty recipes cooked by you 😉 . Nice ‘numaish’ of ‘Numaish’

  8. Najaf Ali Mirza says:

    It is very well written, in depth descriptive and nostalgic. I have not been there since past 10 years, but now i heard that they have paved with flooring thus avoiding dust .In my childhood i used to watch two things in particular.. the maut ka koonva (bikes) and the man who used to jump like a fireball from the top. I heard later he died by landing not in the water but on the ground. Too bad about the parking charges, but entrance is reasonable.

    • Beyniaz says:

      Thanks for writing in with your memories of the Numaish, Najaf. I also remember the dust in the grounds until concrete roads were put in..and the rather disturbing image of the fireball-man who used to pour a liquid over himself, climb a high ladder to a platform, set himself alight and jump into the pond underneath.

  9. Sushi says:

    Beyniaz!!! what a beautiful blog!!! its like a lil video,,, i could visualize it with colour , smells , people crowds ..the works ! 🙂 would love to work on something together with you !!!!hugs

    • beyniaz says:

      Sushi, only your photography can do justice to this Exhibition. Would love to see the Numaish through your lens.:)

  10. Radhey says:

    Very good piece on the Industrial Exhibition, Beyniaz. I too remember it back from childhood days when we used to go for a nice wintry evening’s stroll at the Exhibition. I remember that it used to be one great place for a lot of handloom stuff that my folks used to pick up there. An eat here and a drink there and maybe a photo taken on a Bobby motor-bike (& colour painted later by hand) taken at one of the studios in the exhibition with maybe, Amitabh and Rekha would round up the wonderful experience. Yes, sometimes if we were lucky, we would get to have a piece of fried fish as well !!! Thanks for the memory trip down that nostalgia lane !!

    • beyniaz says:

      Glad to see your comment here, Radhey. The exhibition has grown over the years. I remember the hall of mirrors in addition to the Bobby bike.

  11. Such a nice blog, Beyniaz!

    I could relate to a number of things, as I used to be taken to a number of such exhibitions by my parents and brothers – there is one such annual exhibition at Madras Island Grounds – and several others at Vellore Fort Maidan – Even though such exhibitions have become more classy (recently Chennai witnessed an Autofest Expo) and theme oriented, nothing to beat the general exhibition, and YOU HAVE PORTRAYED IT SO WELL, that my wife is now after me to take her to Hyderabad!

    • beyniaz says:

      Thank you Om.Hope to see you and your wife soon! 🙂
      This exhibition in Hyderabad is spread over 23 acres of ground and has been held annually at the same spot since1938.

  12. vimala ramu says:

    A charming account of Hyderabadi charm. I used to enjoy my visits to shops around Charminar, Abid’s etc.

  13. Shernaz says:

    You make it sound all too tempting, Beyniaz. Will time my next visit to Hyderabad to coincide with the numaish. I like the way the name sounds.

    • beyniaz says:

      ‘Numaish’ means Exhibition in Urdu. You have to visit it Shernaz …I rate it as a must do thing in one’s lifetime!

  14. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Very enjoyable read, Beyniaz. I could feel the nostalgia behind every description. Tempting too – Rajasthani Sarees and Lakhnavi Salwar Suite!

  15. Mira Pawar says:

    Beyniaz, you are right the numaish is actually an annual pilgrimage…Are you going there again this year?

  16. nadi says:

    will come next year.
    Beyniaz temptress you

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