Few weeks back while driving in Calicut,something pricked me when I passed the Sarovaram Bio Park.It is situated at the Mini Bypass Road — on the way to Arayadathu Palam from Eranjipalam Junction.Two decades back,the plot where the bio park stays now was an exhibition ground.Weekend plans were either to roam in the S.M.Street or to go for an exhibition.The latter occurred only once or twice in a year — during the Christmas week and during summer vacation.So the demand was higher.A lot of vendors,circus groups and performers camped for a week or ten days.There will be everything from safety pins to furniture. Some families came with big-shoppers and filled their bags full.In school,we pinched each other and howled “same pinch” upon seeing same colored fancy pens/pencils in the hands of classmates.School boys calculatedly spent 12-hours at the exhibition to meet their crush(es).School girls went with their parents in the hope that they might see their guy.Love birds used the opportunity well.Parents shopped as much as they could.
In Calicut,the first mall came into existence in 2007.Focus Mall.People rushed into it as if the world will end the next day.Some people even told that Focus Mall was a realistic version of Orkut. We met our long-lost classmates,forgotten teachers,purposely avoided relatives and nosy family friends.Some people went to Focus Mall daily.Some others traveled from other end of the city to visit the mall.Shopping from Focus Mall became a matter of pride.A lot of people shopped only from the mall despite the frustrating crowd and the unnecessary waiting in the queues.People of nearby districts and places made one-day trip to Calicut to visit the mall.Taking guests to the mall was a proud moment.We boasted to every Manu,Binu and Vinu that the biggest mall in Kerala is in Calicut.But,the initial rage disappeared like whiffs of smoke in the air.People were bored with seeing people whom they know every time they go to the mall.People became bored with the crowd.And the rage slowly died.When newer malls came,people stopped going to Focus Mall.Last time when I visited the Focus Mall,there were hardly any crowd despite being a Saturday evening.
I truly wish those exhibitions and fairs at the temples were back.I miss the fun in riding on the giant wheel,I miss eating cotton candy and I miss those waiting-days.Or are these the symptoms of growing old?No matter what,those days were indeed golden.