Call me old-fashioned, but flea markets at malls leave me cold.

For me, true celebration happens when communities and families chip in, not for themselves but to help others.

And how better to ring in the season of giving, with one of the first Christmas Carnivals in the city. And no, this is not a mall-organised shopping festival, but a feast for the senses, featuring handmade, hand-crafted and yes, home-made creations.

Every item at the carnival—which is tomorrow, Sunday, November 29, at Daya Niketan, Vitayathel Farm, Inner Byrathi Road, Hennur Road—has been made with love. And how do I know this? Well, I know for sure, because most of the stall-holders are my friends. So at the carnival, you'll meet Aruna who has delicious coconut barfi and beautifully decorative, Christmassy treasures and lanterns on sale, Preethi with her gorgeous collection of sarees and dress materials and Pooja's exquisite découpage work (decorating objects with paper cut-outs and covering them with several coats of varnish or lacquer). Trust me, Namitha's charming and colourful creations (earrings, brooches, bookmarks and everything else creative) made of metal and quilled paper, will not fail to enchant.

What's more, Maya has mouthwatering pickles and cakes at her stall, Ann has skillfully-made quilts and delicious pork sorpatel on offer, and Shamli will have her colourful Madhubani art and craft work (mugs, coasters, trays...) on display too. Apart from this, there are activities/games for children, pottery, jewellery making, pot painting, stalls with intricately carved boxes/tea light holders, other stalls selling momos, candles, chocolates, childrens' books, plants....and so much more.

That is just a sample of the fabulousness on offer.

Even the music and equipment at the event has been put together by different people. And yes, I know them well too. There's Revathi who has donated her speakers, Preethi has lent her amplifiers and Brijesh (whose wife Rhea is a friend!) has offered to be DeeJay for the day. Incidentally, Revathi's husband Balaji created all the posters/promos for the event!

What is this carnival in aid of? It is to help various programmes run by Don Orione India (http://www.donorioneindia.org/). The projects that are being nurtured include a daycare centre for the intellectually challenged and a programme that aims to provide a better life for women who have suffered abuse.

What's special here is that entire communities are chipping in, friends and total strangers are working together--to help those less fortunate and those who are marginalised.

No mall-sponsored event can achieve that.

Event: Christmas Carnival

Date: Sunday, 29th November

Time: 11 am to 3 pm

Venue: Daya Niketan

Vitayathel Farm

Blessings Garden

Inner Byrathi Road

Hennur Road, Bangalore-77

For details, call 9980008233/9880827040