Festivals keep Delhiites warm

After a two-year forced break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, winter events in the Capital are back and Delhiites are lapping them up

DAYS IN VERSES: Delhiites spent a calm and cosy evening at Delhi Poetry Festival

Winter is in, bringing with it the bright, warm orb during the day, and a bit of chill in the night.

The season of warm clothing and rich food has also ushered in major events that have left Delhiites, starved of outdoor entertainment due to the two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, all excited.

No wonder, Dilliwallas are thronging the events despite the long queues and traffic jams.

Some of Delhi’s iconic places have been decked up, attracting connoisseurs in large numbers for events related to food, literature, pop-culture as well as traditional music.

Also read: Pleasing to eye, not to pocket

The National Stadium, Old Fort and Pragati Maidan were among those brought to life by visitors of all tastes, ages and genders.

Patriot looks at some of the big events that took place in the Capital recently and also touches upon those that will be held over the next few days.

Comic-con

Comic-con returned after a three-year absence and Delhiites did not miss it.

The event happened on three days, from December 9 to 11 at the NSIC Exhibition Ground, Okhla.

The mood of the event could be felt as soon as one stepped out of the nearby Govindpuri metro station: people dressed up as characters from movies, comics, video games and novels, flaunting merchandise and free goodies.

Massive queues greeted as one approached the venue on the last day.

Kritika Malik, a volunteer said, “The turnout has been great today. The fans have made this event come alive. Today’s the last day, and it is also a Sunday, so we’re expecting the largest crowd. Also, we’re going to see [comedian] Zakir Khan live today, and that’s going to be amazing.”

This year, Comic-con Delhi had an increased number of merchandise stalls, exclusive live experiences from Marvel, DC, 21st Century Fox, Prime Video and Microsoft. Besides, there was a hall dedicated exclusively to gaming and tech with rewards in kind worth up to Rs 25,000.

Apart from gaming, the merchandise store and figurine stalls drew the most attention. Latest superheroes like Batman, Superman and Captain America battled for space with the old ones from Nagraj Comics.

ON DISPLAY: A stall with the famous Naagraj Comics

Trinkets and mementos like coffee mugs, keychains and figurines were popular.

The one new thing that spectators noticed in this edition was the popularity of anime characters with fans, dressed in outfits of characters like Naruto and Chainsaw Man, showing intensity.

Vivaan Kushwaha, an eight-year-old dressed as Batman said, “Batman is my favourite character. I enjoy his supercool gadgets, and I’ve always wanted to drive a Batmobile. I also appreciate Thor’s physique, and I want to have the same when I grow up.”

Comic-Con India also provided special experience zones for Avatar 2, the next Jack Ryan season, Lord of the Rings, and Shazam from DC, as well as an AI experience, 360 camera and picture booths. The presence of comic book creators such as Rick Leonardi, Matt Hawkins, Abhijeet Kini and Ameesh Tripathi as well as famous faces from the stand-up comedy scene made the event memorable.

German Christmas at Sunder Nursery

The thing that could explain the popularity of German Christmas at Sunder Nursery were the roads near Sabz Burj. The area witnessed heavy traffic jam on the two days the event took place (December 10 and 11). People stepped out of their vehicles and walked towards the garden when they could not wait any longer.

Sunder Nursery was flooded with both kinds of visitors: those who came exclusively for Christmas and those who came for a visit to the nursery garden.

The ticket counters, which sold tickets mandatory for the entry to the nursery, had two large queues. Visitors at special ticket counters for the German market being held inside the nursery were lesser in number. A number of people complained about the mismanagement at ticket counters.

“People are here because of German Christmas. We are avoiding this area because we know it is going to be like this for two days,” said an auto driver who was stuck in the traffic.

In a corner of the garden, the tents holding the Christmas Market were lively. There were special arrangements, including a number of activities, for children.

EAGER KIDS: A number of activities at the German Christmas were held solely for children

“The best thing we love about this place is the vibe here. There are Christmas songs playing and we can have the best of foods. Some of the baked products are traditionally German!” exclaimed a group of visitors as they had their lunch in the food court. People had to sit on the floor as the seats were full in the food court.

People from all over the city came to the event.

A selection of Christmas decorations and other holiday goods, German gourmet products, home furnishings, cosmetics, handicrafts, clothing, plants, stationery, gift items and much more were on display at different pavilions. People jumped onto German chocolates and candies, waffles, garden accessories, tasty culinary items and beverages.

Delhi Poetry Festival

Contrary to the hustle-bustle of German Christmas, the atmosphere at Delhi Poetry Festival at India Habitat Centre was calm and relaxed. The venue of the event, an open amphitheatre, complemented its ambience. Visitors sat comfortably on cushions lying on seats around the stage as they listened to discussions on poetry, partition, romance, resistance, dying and living among others.

The festival celebrated the 300 years of Waris Shah, a Punjabi sufi poet who wrote the popular romance, Heer Ranjha. Almost 1,000 people attended the event on both the days (December 10 and 11).

The event started with the poems of the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, as Mannu Kohli and Danish Iqbal discussed and hummed the verses of the revolutionary poet. Named after the poet’s famous nazm “Kab Yaad Mein Tera Saath Nahin”, the discussion revolved around the importance of resistance in present times.

A candid conversation between Brahmanand Singh and Rakesh Anand Bakshi, son of famous poet and lyricist Anand Bakshi, grabbed the limelight on the first day as Bakshi shared memories of his father.

There were discussions around the relevance of the character of Heer. The audience grooved to the songs of Harpreet Singh.

Conversations around technology and poetry also found their way into the event through poets Amy Singh and Sunil Bhandari as well as RJ Sayema. Podcast poetry was the focus.

“The important thing is consistency when it comes to podcasts,” said Bhandari on the relevance and popularity of podcasts in the present time.

As the festival celebrated Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English poetry among others, Hindi feminist poet Savita Singh read her poem on the traumatic life of American poet Sylvia Plath while Devi Prasad Mishra recited his poems around childhood, homeland and youth.

The festival also held writing workshops, book launches and Hindi and English open mic.

Jashn-e-Rekhta

Jashn-e-Rekhta, a major Urdu language literary festival, returned on-ground after a forced break of three years. The seventh edition of the festival was a three-day event and provided a platform for Urdu lovers to participate in different events.

There were 150 artists and 60 events comprising ghazals, sufi music, qawwali, dastangoi, panel discussions, mushaira, poetry recitations and celebrity conversations.

This year’s line-up featured Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Hariharan, Muzaffar Ali, Richa Sharma, Kumar Vishwas, Shailesh Lodha, Dia Mirza, Sheykhar Ravjiani, Shilpa Rao, Pratibha Singh Baghel, Priya Malik and Rahgir besides several other authors, poets, artists and scholars.

The festival drew a large crowd as entry was free. Hundreds of people were turned away on the last day as there was not enough space inside the National Stadium venue where it was held.

ASEAN Music Festival

At the ASEAN music festival that returned after a five-year hiatus and took place from November 18 to November 20, visitors grooved to the songs of Ishq Tera Tadpave singer Sukhbir Randhawa.

The festival drew a large crowd on all the three days. Only 50-60 people attended the start of the event. But gradually the crowd grew to 500-600. The trend was similar on November 19, the second day. But the last day witnessed peak crowd.

Also read: When Purana Qila grooved to Asean music

Many had turned up at the festival for the first time. A lot of college students, children, families, working professionals and working-class people were there.

The ASEAN music festival featured performers from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Trade Fair

The India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan drew a large number of visitors. The organisers had expected more than 10 lakh people at the event. The fair ran from November 14 till November 18 for business visitors exclusively and till November 26 for the general public. The major attractions of the festival were the pavilions from Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

More than 2500 international and domestic companies, firms and individuals showcased their products. The foreign countries included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Turkey, UAE, UK among others.

The number of visitors could be imagined from the fact that the organisers had designated 67 metro stations as well as digital platforms like Insider and Book My Show for selling tickets.

IITF is an iconic international event where both the exhibitors and visitors participate. The fair provides a big platform for traders and industries as well as small businesses.

More to come…

There a number of festivals over the next few days. The Kavi Collection will bring together the stalwarts of Hindi literature on December 17. The Northeast Festival will bring together the eight states after a two-year gap. The Flavours for India Food Festival will be held from January 20 to January 22. The much-anticipated Auto Expo will be held from January 13 to January 18. Zomaland By Zomato will also return.

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Shehwaaz covers community, sexuality, gender, and other social issues for Patriot.

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