Once bitten, twice paranoid. And when the bite is as big as the Great Shopping
Mall, that is justified! Can you then blame the Hyderabadi for now trusting only
the Industrial Exhibition held every January?
The Indian Consumer Exhibition hasn't had much hype. This factor combined with the fact that the entry ticket costs Rs. 20 (Rs. 25 on weekends) seems to have had an adverse effect indeed. There weren't many people around, and once inside, the reason was apparent.
Almost 50% of the space was given to electronic goods, and Digital Shoppy hogged almost all of that allotted space. Every brand of electronic goods was on display. And considering that there were neither any new brands unheard of in Hyderabad nor were there any attractive discounts being offered, the mild reaction is understandable. The stalls were arranged brand-wise and the names just went on and on. Samsung, Panasonic, Siemens (washing machines here, not cell phones), Electrolux, Thomson… you get the idea.
Finally the electronic goods stalls peter out as random stalls started popping up. Then furniture takes the spotlight with a wide range of beanbags, inflatable chairs and waterbeds being the main attractions. The prices look affordable, but with inflatable goods there is always the danger that the guarantee may just be a lot of hot air (I couldn't resist that!). Dream Valley has a huge stall, and with pretty blow-ups of prospective real estate projects, they sure are hogging a lot of attention.
Then come the inevitable Indian Crafts stalls, with goods from Kanchi, Warangal, Kashmir and Rajasthan. For some vague reason, a lot of the consumer good stalls have been set up by Coimbatore-based people, and there is a lot of Tamil being bandied about. The rest of the stalls have been arranged in a very random manner, with assortments of handloom stalls, gardening essentials, magnetic therapy and solar heaters catching the eye (that was to give you an idea of how random it was!).
The most popular theme amongst the stalls is definitely Feng-Shui. Feng-Shui items with the catchy ying-and-yang motif are rampant, and one enterprising stall even had a board which said "China Vaastu". I guess that's for the people who have no idea what Feng-Shui is! Another surprising feature is the presence of a couple of stalls of ISKCON. Featuring oil-paintings of the Lord Krishna and collector's editions of the Bhagvada Geetha, the stalls are the center of much curiosity, but very less business.
The stalls end to give way to an open area where there is a food court with names as recognizable as Venky's Chicken and as new as Vijay Di Dhaba. There are even a few rides out there, but on a rather small scale. Pepsi is the official drink, and so people who have sworn not to touch the stuff need to go in with supplies. But of course, there is always the option of not going in. And considering there ain't nothing new to see there, it would seem a wise option.