Daksha school has this annual Diwali mela where children and their parents put up all sorts of stalls - games, products, food, quizzes etc and raise money that is used for a deserving cause. It is an evening of fun for parents, children and visitors alike and the children manage to raise almost a lakh of rupees. It is what I think is a highly creative idea - one that is so efficient that it gets everyone involved and gets everyone having fun.
|The three booksellers - Mansi, Anjali and Brahmani with the book shelves behind them|
Anjali has been part of this mela for so many years and we all show up every year with her aunts and uncles and have a good time. There are normally some small games where you answer riddles, or play some cricket, or shoot something, or answer some math problems and you make off with a smiley for doing well. If you are tired of the stalls, then you can head to the food stalls that serve everything from pizza to pav bhaji, mirchi bajji to bhel puri, laddus to junnu and on and on. Some nice masala tea is also on sale.
|Used Books - Poster|
Anjali, Mansi and Brahmani, the usual suspects, came together this time for the Diwali mela stall. Initially they planned to sell newspaper bags. Then for some reason they came up with a novel idea - a used book stall where they sell old story books, comics and novels for half their price. (Another smart idea - efficient - less work, more scope for business.) They quickly went about collecting books from their own collection - Anjali got some 25 from her collection and ten asked her cousin Shaurya and he gave away another 25. Between Mansi and Brahmani and her, they got about 100 books. I told her she could sell 'The Men Within', '50 Not Out' and 'This Way is Easier Dad' for whatever price she wanted.
|Art of serious selling|
Books were collected and transported to school. Banners and captions made "A house without books is like a body without a soul - Cicero' was the selling point. On Saturday, the 14th of October, I dropped Anjali off at 1 and then joined the mela with Pooja (her cousin) at 330. The moment we entered we met Radhika, the vice Principal and then Anita, who were unanimous in their praise for the book stall idea. 'They already sold 40 books,' they said. Wow!
|Getting her cousin Abhi anna interested|
We wandered over to the stall and we could see they were doing brisk business. The books were attractively priced and were selling quickly. Radhika had picked up 'The Men Within'. Chandana aunty was made to pick up 'This Way is Easier Dad' and Achi Reddy bought '50 Not Out' so all of my books were sold out. Comics, Goosebumps and several other books. It was easily one of the popular stalls because even after they wound up at 6, children were dragging their parents over to pick up a book or two. Anita introduced me to a couple of parents who had read 'This Way is Easier Dad'. I met another parent who was dragged there by her son who is an avid badminton and cricket fan and we discussed the books and the inspiration behind them. So with several other parents who stopped near the stall.
|Rain did not dampen the mela|
Pooja and I went around playing games - memory game, reading quiz, KBC (by Harsh, Rishabh, Yaswantt), target shooting - and many more. We ate bhel puri, pav bhaji, pizza, junnu, cut mirchi and drank masala tea. Anjali wanted her own money to spend along with her pals. Nalini and Abhishek joined us and at the very end, Abhinay joined us too. When the final count was the done the books stall had a bumper sale of Rs. 3310 which is three times what they normally make every year. 'It will be a standard item from now on,' said Anita.
|An intimate moment with her cousin Pooja at the end|
It was a very tired Anjali who came away with us and well she deserved a good meal so off we went to the faithful Zaika and polished off some marag and biryani before heading home. Well done Anjali, Mansi and Brahmani. Well done Daksha. Brilliant job. Love it.