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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

more on kolkata boi mela 2005

With the organizers advancing entry to the Kolkata Boi Mela by 2 hours everyday in view of the loss of two precious days viz. Friday and Saturday, obviously, the Sunday was chock full of booklovers who swarmed all over the fair grounds like bees around a beehive. In addition, it was celebrated as a day where prominence was given to children – a child was drawn around in a palanquin, to publicize this fact.

All the participants were of the opinion that the loss of two vital days cannot be compensated by extending the fair timings by two hours everyday – even if the fair gates were thrown open at 12, people started to come in only by around two. Similarly, extending the fair by a couple of days is also impractical because many participants come from outside Kolkata and their travel plans are finalized much in advance. Hence, the loss remains unrecoverable.

There was a pair of young boys who went around the fair grounds walking on stilts. They had posters of books hung around their necks and, in this age of marketing, proved that people literally look up to them to know about the latest books doing the rounds. It transpired that these boys earned around five hundred rupees per day for exhibiting their special skills for the duration of the fair.

One of the stalls was devoted to books in Braille for the blind booklovers.

The Kolkata Police stall, set up with the intention of bringing the common man closer to the Police displayed rare photographs and arms and ammunitions used by the revolutionaries during the freedom struggle. Also, there were exhibits of various police equipment and books written by members of the Police force.

Similarly, the stall of Prasar Bharati had on display CDs and cassettes of old songs and dances preserved over the ages.

In addition, there were groups of youngsters strumming their guitars and singing songs – crowds surrounded them chanting ‘yeh dil maange more’.

Of course, the undisputed attraction was the ‘Food Park’ patronized by people of all ages, where people thronged in hundreds to taste their favorite dishes – as some one casually remarked: ‘this should be rechristened as the Food Fair instead Book Fair’!

(to be continued…)


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