The unfashionable Calendars

A far cry from bikini-clad damsels shot in exotic locations,these 2012 calendars available in small markets reveal that gods,babies and kitschy images of Bolly stars are still liked as calendar art by the middle class

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: January 16, 2012 3:34 am

For Rs 20,you could have a date with actor Katrina Kaif every month of 2012. Or,be guided by the god of your choice as you go through each day. In fact,if you walk down Nayi Sadak of Chawri Bazar in Old Delhi,images of cartoon characters,smiling babies and motivational messages on leadership qualities greet you from the plethora of calendars on display. Since the New Year is still new,the serpentine lane is bursting with paraphernalia like planners,diaries,pocket-books and calendars.

These are far removed from the glamourous array of exclusive designer calendars. There is no sultry reference point of a Kingfisher calendar,or the news-making value of Daboo Ratnani’s calendar for 2012 which has actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in stunning poses.

The best-selling calendars in Old Delhi have enlarged pictures of gods and goddesses,especially Ganesha,Shiva and Kali. “It is a good thing to have images of deities in one’s house. My calendar,with its prominent Lakshmi picture,is displayed in the dining room of my house. I have a Shiva image on my desk calendar,” says Sanjukta Basu,a Gurgaon-based engineer.

Since Doomsday believers predict the end of the world in December this year,the ancient Mayan calendar also makes an appearance on religious-themed calendars in this market. (The misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar is the basis for a wide-spread fear that a cataclysm will take place on December 21,2012. Fortunately,a sane reading shows that this is merely the day when the calendar will go to the next b’ak’tun,or the next cycle.)

In Deepak Jain’s calendar shop,bustling with buyers,nobody cares about the apocalypse. “Apart from images of gods,flowers and Bollywood stars such as Salman Khan and Deepika Padukone are hot themes in calendars this year,” says Jain,adding that his buyers mostly order in bulk.

A desk calendar is priced at Rs 30 and a group of students carefully discuss the merits of various themes before picking a number of a calendars with colourful numbers for dates and ‘photoshopped’ images of roses.

In the Sunday flea market of Daryaganj in Central Delhi,even 2011 diaries are popular buys. “My sons use these old diaries to scribble notes in school. The past year’s diaries also come cheaper than this year’s,” says JP Mishra,as he piles a stack of diaries of the year gone by. Around him,stalls offer diaries for 2012 — faux leather-bound volumes and those with light blue pages priced between Rs 40 and Rs 200.

Mishra’s 2012 diary,however,is bright golden in colour,hard bound with quotes from the Bhagvad Gita on each page. “This will possibly be the only way I will ever read the verses and passages of the Bhagvad Gita,” he says with a smile.

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