I have begun to suspect P and I are turning into habitual latecomers. Not fashionably late, but late-enough-to-miss-the-best-part-of-the-show kind of late. You know the kind—those idiotic types who plan a trip for days, get tickets in advance, then wake up late on the D-day and miss the bus. Yup, true story! So, it didn’t strike us as anything out of the ordinary when the stalls at Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall started closing down one by one as soon as we walked in the other day. It was the last day of the 23rd National Industrial Exhibition, and despite it being a 5-day event, we had seen it fit to check it out only on the last day!
Despite our late entry, we did manage to find some stalls that were still miraculously open (I guess that just goes on to prove that karma’s not always a bitch like it’s made out to be or maybe I’ll be made to pay my karmic debt in lump sum, instead of in installments, one not so fine day). Anyway, here are some of the things that took our fancy.
NETTLEFor me, it was love at first sight with this stole made of nettle (the word is sisnu in Nepali). Many years ago, I had read about Indian fashion designers working with fabric made out of nettle but have never had the opportunity to actually see and feel the fabric for myself until now (I guess rolling down the hill and landing right into a nettle bush doesn’t count—again, true story!).
Come to think of it nettle is a pretty versatile little thingy. You can
(a) eat it as soup (I kid you not! You can make delicious soup with nettle leaves.)
(b) clothe yourself with it (provided you got loads of cash to spare; nettle fabric doesn’t come cheap as we found out that day); and
(c) use it to tame unruly children (When I was small, we had this teacher who’d threaten to spank us with nettle if we didn’t behave. Sadly, no one had told us about the school’s anti-corporal punishment rule and the bluff worked every time.)
What do you do after you separate the wheat from the chaff? You use the chaff and turn it into art. The following images are of artwork where paddy stalk takes centre stage by working both as the paint brush and the color.
Straw art: Mandala. Amazing, huh?
Straw art: Traditional Newari window. Would definitely have bought one if I could afford it.
Straw art: A close up of the traditional Newari window
Straw art: Patan Durbar Square
And finally… The Statue of Liberty that had both of us in splits. Wait! Let me give you a close up of the Roman Goddess of freedom.
See what I mean? Too much Botox, dear Libertas?
HERBAs we were walking past a stall showcasing some herbal products, a man of slight built ambushed us. I don’t know how many other unsuspecting victims he did this to, but going by how quickly he pushed some dry crumpled leaves under our noses and even managed to make us put some of that thing in our mouths, I can tell we were not his only test subjects. This quick gun here told us those leaves were Stevia leaves, the all natural herbal sweetener, also known as sweet leaf or sugar leaf, ideal for diabetics and weight watchers. Though we are neither diabetic nor watching our weight, we ended up buying a couple of saplings.
BAMBOO, PAPER AND SILK
Another stall we stopped by had these lovely bamboo products. See the tiny cylindrical bamboo containers in the picture below? We were told they are used for packing tea leaves. We bought some bamboo baskets too (because P thought we needed some for Easter!) and a tray (which I will use to store my new scissors and shears :D). See those little blue boxes? They are made of handmade Nepali paper. Bought them not because they’d serve any specific purpose but only because they are so darn cute! Pretty much the same reason why that magenta raw silk scarf found its way into our shopping bag 😀
And guess what found its way to Spookie’s head? 😉
Have an earth-friendly evening 🙂