Bright neon lights, a crowd so heavy that you don’t have to move your legs to go forward, the crowd does it for you. Echoes of “Lasa Lamsa Chaaaiiii” follow you as you bustle around, trying to find a quiet corner to take a breath – give up. You won’t.


A friend of my parents approached them with an exciting business opportunity. It was 2015, the first Nampally Exhibition after the new state of Telangana was formed. My parents got to sell and promote various Telangana-special delicacies from all over the state. If you were wondering what it was called, it had the most creative name – “Telangana Stores”. Pretty innovative, I know. 


 It was the best thing that could have happened to 11-year-old me.


For all the 46 days of the exhibition, we would get home from school, freshen up, and go to the stall. It was a big one with different sections – clothes, jewellery, food, and souvenirs. Lil’ ol’ me didn’t even know half the food items there. “Bakshaalu” from Mahabubnagar to “Sarvapindi” and “Sakkinaalu” from Karimnagar. Every weekend, my house was packed with four – five chefs buzzing around with mammoth-sized utensils, ready to make copious amounts of Hyderabad’s famous Double ka Meetha. I could randomly smell it all around the house for the rest of the week. Just as it starts to fade, it’s the weekend again. And then, we finally got to sell all of this to the people with the help of friends and family. I also got to flex my cashier muscles sometimes (while sneaking in “Sarvapindi” shhh).



As a child, everything was so huge, loud, and vibrant. Though I was too small and slow for everything, it was all too fascinating. Seeing both sides of the exhibition felt like I was part of something special. I got to create a haven smack in the middle of absolute chaos. I have distinctive memories of eating delectable food and getting to know a bit more about my culture. However, the best part was when I got to take those delicious snacks to school, brag about it to my friends, and then see them at the store the next day while I made money out of them (brilliant, I know).


Moreover, we got to spend extra time with our grandfather whenever it was his turn to man the counter. We would go around the exhibition, talking to the other vendors and getting freebies. My sister and I would hold our grandfather’s hands as we slowly and carefully walked around and treated ourselves to snacks along the way. I would stick to my grandfather, looking at everything with stars in my eyes. It is one of the core memories I share with him.



Numaish played a significant role in my childhood. I didn’t even realise it until a couple of years ago. Sadly, we had to part ways with Telangana Stores soon after.


Now the exhibition isn’t how it used to be. It’s gotten smaller, dreary, and just as loud. My grandfather is now too old to walk around the exhibition and buy us treats. Instead, I take them home to him. Though now I’m old enough not to hold my mum’s hand, I still stay by her side at all times on the slight possibility of getting lost. This time, the older me is fascinated by something different about Numaish – the people. I hear the most unhinged, heartwarming, and downright hilarious conversations. There is also this fear of running into someone I know and having to be my most miserable, introverted self wondering – “Why am I here again?”


The answer might be that I’m emotionally attached to this place and the nostalgia I experience as I set foot here. I thrive in the sensory overdrive of the bright lights, huge rides, and the speakers playing five seconds of the most iconic retro Hindi songs and cutting them off right before it gets to the best part.


I will remember the blinding lights until I return in a year. Though the crowd does not let me walk, at least it pushes me forward. I keep humming “Lasa Lamsa Chaiii” as I run my errands for the rest of the month. And why would anyone in their right mind at Numaish look for a place to breathe? This place makes you feel right at home amid mayhem. Comfort in chaos, truly.


PS: If you go to the Numaish, have the potato twisters. You’re welcome.


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