My earliest memory of Rather Mela was a Parrot that my father got me, though it did not survive long but I still remember its face vividly. That was probably the first and last bird that we ever purchased, we usually stuck to the colourful aquarium fishes. One year my father got me a study table and a chair which we used for many years. I can still remember the taste of candy and strawberry milk ice creams.
Over the years I had completely forgotten about Rather Mela and my daughter had never been to it so this year I had planned to take my daughter to this magical fun land. Children now a days are more used to shopping mall or a food plaza when it comes to an evening outing so I wanted to see how Rianna reacted to all this chaotic mess.
I took my family to the CIT Road Rather Mela which lies somewhere in between Moulali Crossing and Philips More. I reached straight from office whereas Smita and Rianna took a taxi from home to reach there.
I reached a bit early and within a couple of minutes Smita and Rianna arrived. I could see the excitement in Rianna’s eyes when the taxi reached the gates. She was spell bound by the birds in the cage and the fishes in the aquarium. She begged her mother to buy a couple of them but we had already decided not to buy any more pets since its quite difficult for us keep any of them considering that we both are working parent. Then there were rabbits, guinea pigs and white mouse, Rianna quietly slipped her little fingers between the cages and felt the soft fur of cute little bunnies.
Once you enter the fairground you will see rows of verities of shops. You will be welcomed by the wonderful smell of fresh hot Jalebis and other varieties of sweet and savouries. I would personally recommend you to try some hot Jalebis they are bound to melt in your mouth but be careful not to burn your tongue.
One thing I have found across all fairs is that the presence of Pickle, Papad & Digestive Churan sellers. Sweet, sour, spicy you have the entire variety, and the best part is that you can taste the sample before you buy them. All of them taste yummy but my personal favourite is mixed fruit pickle. Pickles are sold as per weight so make sure you pick up at least a couple of bottles.
Around some isolated corners you will definitely find some imitation jewellery seller. Out here I found this shop completely lit up with yellow incandescent lamp to make the gold imitation jewellery look more golden. I guess it adds to the glitter too.
All this walking if it makes you thirsty then you have the Soda shops. Pineapple, Apple, Cola, Orange, Grape, Pomegranate, Mixed Fruit… you will be spoilt for choices. If you are an Ice Cream person then you have the option of the branded shops or if you are adventurous then you can surely try the instant handmade Malai Kulfi.
The guy selling Malai Kulfi got excited to see my camera and put a special performance to show how it’s made. Basically a drum which is pre filled with ice and salt is spun and the Kulfi maker slowly pours in the liquid on top of the spinning drum carefully ensuring that its spreads across the drum equally with a minimum wastage. Within few seconds the liquid freezes and forms the base of the Kulfi. Then he take red and green colour which he spreads across the drum making circular patterns. Once done he uses a knife to chip away the frozen desert from the spinning drum to the plate below.
By now Rianna had spotted the Bouncing Inflatable Castle, Ferris wheel and the Merry go Round so she dragged us to them. She was only interested in the bouncing castle since this has become quite common a sight whereas this is something which I have never tried and would love to bounce one day. Unfortunately this was only restricted to kids below certain age. I guess all this fun got the child out of me for a moment.
If you like something sweet then I would recommend you the Sweet Mitha Paan or some Candies. You can also ask the Paan maker to make you a customized Paan.
All this hustle and bustle made me completely forget that I had promised to buy Rianna a toy but she did remember. She dragged her mom to the shop and to my surprise she chose a toy binocular. I guess the traveller bug has already bitten my daughter and this must be a sign that she wants to be a wanderer.
If you really want to enjoy the fair then make sure you have enough time in your hand since there are other attractions also. You will find a shop selling Magic Tricks, Glassware, Wooden Kitchenware, Wall Decorative, Artificial Flowers etc.
If you have a good aim then head straight to the corner shop where you get to blow up balloons with an air rifle. Most of the air rifles will have their aims slightly bent so that you keep missing shots and keep trying. And speaking of luck how about some lucky ball? You need to roll six balls on a board with numbered partitions. Your accumulated number is the final score and you get rewarded accordingly.
Then there is the Fortune Teller… I mean the furtune telling robot. For Rs. 10 you get to know your horoscope striaght from the robot throug a headphone and ofcouse you have a language option also.
The smell of street food will attract you like a magnet, you can try some Phuchka, Chow Mein, Bhel Puri, Jhal Muri, Baraf Ka Gola etc.
Rianna’s energy by now has dwindled and now it was time to head back home. Before you go you must grab some hot freshly fried Papads, this is somewhat a tradition and no Rather Mela is complete without one. Bye for now see you in some other Mela.