Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee

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What happened to the New Year greeting cards?

What happened to the New Year greeting cards? This year, till writing this column on 5 Jan. evening I have received only two greeting cards by post/courier.

I know the familiar answer: in an age where you can send instant messages through social media or even call up people instantly and practically without any expense, why do you bother to take the hassle of sending a card, which is expensive and time consuming. I have personally received hundreds of messages on social media – with visuals and video. But I am nostalgic about greeting cards.

I remember when we were kids (I am talking about 70s) we used to make new year greeting cards ourselves. We used to spend days to paint the drawing sheets. Then came the printed ones. In the 80s, when we were young we used to visit stationary shops to buy fancy greeting cards, mostly to impress girls. It was then that card manufacturing companies Archies and Hallmarks made roaring business.

I wonder what Archies and Hallmark are doing. They must have shifted to other businesses like my friend Nabaghan, who does what he calls ‘seasonal businesses.  He sells rakhi for rakhya bandhan festival, colours for Holi, crackers for Deepavali and flowers for New Year. He used to sell greeting cards too for the New Year from a make shift stall in front of the local Girl’s College. He no longer sells greeting cards as there are hardly any takers. He sells red roses on Valentine Day.

Marriage Market

Wedding is a big industry in India. And it is getting bigger and fatter. The extravaganza of Indian weddings possibly makes them one of the most opulent of nuptial ceremonies anywhere in the world.

According to one estimate currently the Indian wedding industry is worth over Rs 100,000 crore and is growing at 25 to 30 per cent annually. The weddings are turning fancier every passing year. With the traditional jewellers, dresswala, caterers and tent-wala, the wedding industry in India is now providing opportunities for wedding planners, designers, bakers, caterers, decor managers, makeup artists, florists and other professionals.

Consider this: Online portals like Shadi.com, Bharatmatrimonials and others rack up revenues of Rs 200-250 crore from match-making annually, and believe the business can only get bigger.

See the paradox. When the importance and stability of marriage as an institution is dwindling (just look at the spiralling divorce rate), the size of market for marriage as an event is booming.

Wedding Shoot

Pre-wedding shoot is in vogue these days. Recently I had been to Udaipur, the city of Lakes. Lakesides are favourite sites for such pre-wedding shoot. The morning I had been to Pichhola lake in the morning there were half a dozen such shootings. The would be groom and bride in fine dresses- suit for the man and lehenga/saree for the woman, slightly uncomfortable in each other’s company in front of half a dozen camera and camera persons instructing them to move, stop, come closer, look intensely in each other’s eyes.
It was cold and the girl wearing chiffon saree was literally shivering. Shoot over, the would be groom removed his coat and draped over the shoulder of the girl. The girl smiled. She inched closer to the man. Beginning of a lifetime love story, hopefully.

Nearby a middle aged couple were taking selfies together. I offered to take photographs of them together. The lady smiled coyly. They posed. I clicked photographs. Call it their post-wedding shoot.

Interesting Facts

I write a series titled ‘The Living Legends: Great Newspapers of India’, which is being published in Communication Today, edited by Prof. Sanjeev Bhanawat of Rajasthan University. In this, I write profile of the newspapers, which have been published before independence and are still surviving.

I just finished writing about the Aj, one of the oldest surviving Hindi newspapers of the country, published before independence.  First published from Banaras in 1920, Aj played a very important role in the development of Hindi language.
Interestingly two Marathi persons played the most important role in this: Babu Rao Paradkar and Ramkrishna Raghunath Khadilkar.

B.V.Paradkar was the first and longest serving editor of Aj, who is credited coining several Hindi words including ‘Rastrapati’ for President. Ramkrishna Raghunath Khadilkar succeeded him.

At a time when the concept of ‘son of the soil’ is gaining credence and often taking an ugly turn it is important we remember the federal structure of our country and the role people from different parts of the country played in developing some other parts.

Bravest thing Dad did for me

A school held a contest for all the kids. The theme for the contest was ‘Bravest thing Dad did for me’. Most of the children expressed their emotions nicely but the award winning answer was written by a small kid. In his answer he wrote: Bravest thing my Dad did for me was: He married my Mom.”

Dedicated to all the wonderful Fathers.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

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The columnist, a journalist turned media academician lives in Central Odisha town of Dhenkanal. He writes fiction and plays. English translation of his Odia novel Yamraj Number 5003 is shortly being published.

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