Festive chaos reigns at Valluvar Kottam. Rows of white panels meander through the hall, dissecting it into 160 stalls. The wares on display are an eclectic mix, ranging from pyjamas, bedspreads and slippers, to property, vehicles and plants. The acrid smell of pickle lingers in one corner of the hall, frenzied voices bark last-minute orders, jewellery tinkles as it is being sorted out. Shiny bikes and cars are parked, games are being organized and furniture is being unpacked.
Finishing touches are being given to a brightly coloured structure that appears to be a rather implausible cross between a fly and an elephant. “That is our unique concept,” smiles Sumathi Srinivas, CEO of Twilite Creations, an event management company that is organizing the Angadi Thiruvizha exposition. “In the recent Tamil film ‘Naan Eee’, the fly goes about destroying evil and discovering truth. So we decided to showcase Lord Ganesha differently by creating this Eee Ganesha.”
Most of the vendors are Chennai-based but there are a few out-of-towners too. Harsh Goyal, from Bangalore, says, “You can design your jewellery while I make it for you. This is my first exhibition in Chennai and I am hoping that people here will like this concept.”
The ubiquitous saree in its various avatars finds its way to a large number of stalls. Kalamkari, Pochampally, Block Print, Silk-Cotton, Net, Bengal cotton and Batik are splayed across various counters in all their vibrant glory, drawing large crowds of women.
“I really like the stuff here,” says Anu, a customer. “It is very different and reasonably priced.”
Many of the vendors are women entrepreneurs who have been offered space at subsidized rates. Vijaya, a savoury products dealer, seems rather thrilled with this. “I have homemade papads in many flavours,” she says, gesticulating excitedly.
“I think that with changing times, we are doing less together as a family. Festivals are supposed to bring families together and we really hope that by shopping together at this exhibition, people will start the Ganesh Chaturthi season on a good note,” says Sumathi.
(The exhibition is being held between the 13th and 16th of this month. Entrance tickets are priced at Rs. 20 and the proceeds will go towards Vizhigal - an enterprise that deals with sponsoring education of deprived children.)
Keywords: Valluvar Kottam handicrafts exhibition