Open grounds turn into semi-carnivals and picnic spots

A college student, Ramesh Sundar, rode all the way to Yelahanka to catch the final day of the Aero India Show. But he proudly declares that his ingenuity saved him money.

For, instead of digging deep into his pockets for the overpriced tickets of the Aero show, he chose the free-of-cost ringside seats at an open ground in Gantiganahalli, adjacent to the runway where the fancy aero show was in its last legs on Sunday. “So I didn’t have to run around for paid tickets, and saved all my pocket money,” chuckles, the engineering student.

Add to the aero show, the small village offers the visitor the old-world charm of the village fair. People from surrounding villages gathered there on Sunday morning to view the manoeuvring metal birds, and the low-flying copters. The planes dove so low that one could read the inscriptions on them. People gathered burst into oohs and aahs every time a new aircraft arrived on the scene.

A picnic it was for many families, many of them come with large picnic umbrellas and camped. Many were seen with food packed in picnic baskets and sheets and mats laid out in these open spots. Govind Swamy, an engineer at Cisco Systems, said that he was glad he chose this alternative viewing arena. Just getting into the Aero Show needs multiple security checks and children tend to get impatient. This is the third Aero India that he’s watching at this village, and he said that “it was the most peaceful experience.”

Another prime spot which made for a good viewing arena was a patch near the railway crossing near NITTE Meenakshi college. This spot, not more than 250 metres away, had excited students groups camping. Another National Highway 7 stretch after gate number 2 also made for a good viewing arena as the road is elevated compared to the landing area and the hangars.

Roshan Khan, who was vending sugarcane juice in this area, said this was his fourth Aero India show. He said that being a Sunday, the business was good. Completing the carnivalish experience were a host of vendors who had set up shop over the past week in these locations selling ice creams, corn, binoculars and small toys for children.

Timothy, a 12-year-old boy who was selling ice cream from a small cart at Hunasamaranahalli village, was as excited to be able to view the rolling, looping planes in the sky as he was about the quick buck he was making. Lots of children had gathered from surrounding villages such as Nagenhalli and Avalahalli here.

Apart from these open ground, people were seen perched atop hoardings, rooftops, boundary walls and just about any tall structure, gazing into the sunny sky. A traffic constable on duty on the busy national highway said that though he had to resort to a mild-lathi charge to control the swelling crowds, he enjoyed this week-long duty as he got to see the air show.

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