New Delhi: Unlike last year which saw a pall thrown over Diwali due to various terror strikes and the sluggish economy, melas seem to be back with community centres and malls setting up fairs well ahead of the festival of lights.
Once held under the neighbourhood community centres, melas have over the years grown to grand scale affairs with corporate sponsors and of late shopping malls are also holding their version of melas to woo customers.
One of the oldest running melas in the capital held in the Sunder Nagar area attracts a sizeable number of people year after year, with the exception of last year when the fair was cancelled due to several blasts in the city.
“I think this is the 48th year of the mela. It is a very upmarket and elite mela and people come from far to attend it, ” says U N Maira, joint secretary, Sunder Nagar Residents Welfare Association.
“We always have elaborate security systems in place and don’t spare any effort or money for the mela. Apart from Delhi Police we also hire private security agents. Last year because there were blasts just before Diwali we had decided to cancel the mela,” says Maira.
Other associations in the capital like the Defence Colony, Saket and Sarvodaya Enclave community centres who had also cancelled their annual melas last year are setting up stalls with gusto this year.
The DLF Promenade Mall in the capital has roped in world artistes including fire eaters, contortonists, Egyptian Tanmura dancers and acrobats for a unique 10-day world carnival.
“Diwali for most people is one of the largest celebration and we are converting the Urban Street into a one stop destination for all Diwali shopping. People can come and buy sweets, experiment with tattoo art or mehandi and shop for designer clothes,” says Pushpa Bector, VP, DLF Promenade Mall.
The Rajasthan Club which has been organising a mela in the city for the last 20 years has set up a two day mela at the Pitampura Dilli Haat.
“We include cusines from all parts of the country and colourful stalls display textiles and other products from different regions and traditons of the country,” says G N Bhatt, joint director, Rajasthan Information Centre.
At the Diwali Mela in Epicentre in Gurgaon the biggest attractions are hand finished, vegetable-dyed leather furniture and artifacts along with display of clothes and accessories by designers and live dance and music performances by various artists.
At the annual mela up by the Blind Relief Association, over 200 stalls by various NGOs display varieties of candles, paper craft and stationery, carry bags, home decor and jewellery.
K.C. Pandey, executive secretary, Blind Relief Association, “Artisans, designers and shop owners display their goods. A food court with different cuisines is set up and there would also be a special massage centre run by the blind school students.”
Shiv Kumar Misra, treasurer of the association says “Our philosophy is education, training and rehabilitation of the 200 students and 100 adults in the institute. The Diwali mela gives us the maximum revenue Rs50-60 lakh to run our organisation. This mela has become an institution in Delhi for the past 30 years.”