You have dough in your orbit, you have time in your element, and happy days are
here again, you thought, all set to go and sniff out the great mall. Well, I just
decided to save you the trouble of traveling those interstellar distances, and
let you in on the real dope. And here it is: it's one fabulous piece of media
It's all the same stuff you are used to seeing in the annual industrial exhibition at Nampally - only, this exhibition is just on a much larger scale and there seems to be a clear division of products at the two venues - the NAC grounds at Madhapur and the Necklace Road. The theme at the mall at Necklace Road can at best be described as 'hog, hog, hog and stare at Tank Bund'. There are quite a few stalls with stuff like Mushroom Manchuria (beware!), the usual chaat and popcorn. A huge stage is erected and there seems to be entertainment lined up. And all this within the vicinity of crowded stalls selling wares like lace tablecloth, jute bags, sunglasses, shoes and stuff.
If you hogged your chaat and are feeling a wee bit adventurous, maybe you can bungee jump into the lake or live out your Schumacher instincts at the Runway 9 go-karting track laid out, before doing a Homer Simpson on that can of beer. That's pretty much what's at the Necklace Road. There still seem to be a whole lot of stalls in the process of being set up. If you want to go out to this venue, you might want to leave extra early to stake your claim on that inch of parking space.
At first sight, the NAC grounds shine bright promising all exotic stuff at cheap prices. Yeah, right. All you have is a long trek into and out of the grounds. It's the same old stuff being sold at a new and revamped location. But if you want to get out of the city and enjoy a long drive, then this place gets a thumbs up. If you enjoy hiking and sloshing through muddy parking lots, then the grounds don't disappoint you either.
But the stalls seem to be serious in their attempt to sell their booty to the upper middle class and upper class consumers. So if you are in the mood to get a new TV, bike or car, then the NAC grounds it is. Also on display are wares from far, and, ahem, exotic, lands like Malaysia and Iran - Persian carpets, lamps and jewelry, all for the taking. There is also a disco put up by Treasure Island; you might want to hit on the weekend.
No Hyderabadi can stray very far from his biriyani, so there is the quintessential Hydearbadi food stall and some fabulous Paneer Tikka while you are at it. There's this kid section with large inflatable slides that might cause your kid to get happy.
The great mall was touted to be on par with the Dubai and Singapore shopping festivals, but now I am not so sure. Gauging by the highly enthu response by the crowds, the stalls have nothing new or fancy to offer, which might cause us poor Hyderabadis to smirk at it as The Great Fall Of Hyderabad. I wish that the next time the govt. would concentrate on playing down the hype a bit and concentrate on getting a higher level of participants. Not only from across the country but from across the globe, too.
But hell, economics aside, it's still a great place to hang out with bumchums and generally loaf around. And yeah, whatever you do, don't forget to wear your loafers, because the entire place tends to get really slushy, and you certainly don't want to be in a mad mood while you are at The Great Mall Of Hyderabad (snicker snicker).