I missed much of the recently concluded Poush Fair in Santiniketan, and only reached the town when this old fair was at its fag end. Growing up in Santiniketan, my relationship with this fair has always been conflicted, and I must confess that much of its charms has always eluded me. Yet, I am favored with some cherished memories of Poush Fair and in my mind it stirs up a flood of images and impressions: masks and pinwheels, the pattering drum-carts…the wonders of the crazy hall of mirrors…loud music and fat men with cones calling the attractions of freak shows…queuing for our turns through the pinhole of travelling bioscopes – the magical world of cardboard fairytales. There would be fireworks at night. There would be fortunetelling machines. And key-rings you could have your names printed on with simple foil-embossing techniques that seemed so clever. And then, of course, the circus – there used to be tigers and lions that did somersaults and greeted the crowd with joined paws. There were rumors that local villagers bought cartloads of elephant refuse, and that the street dogs were fed to the visiting big cats.
It is difficult for someone like me to say how much it has changed over the years. But it has, surely, visibly. I am trying my best not to rue the changes, and not to moan the invasion of Photoshop and digital banners, and I frankly can’t decide anymore if the wooden toys are really better than the plastic imports.
© Rarh Design Studio 2011