Craze for calendars

Craze for calendars

Back in the 1960s, collecting wall calendars was a fad. Come January, my uncle would collect at least 15 calendars from shopkeepers and other sources. Religious calendars were the most common, and adequate representation was given to all religions without any prejudice. But the most favourite and prized calendars were those of natural scenery with green dense trees, colourful flowers, snow-capped mountains, birds in vibrant colours and animals in great variety.

It was not uncommon to see three or four calendars adorning a single room. Muslim houses had an additional Urdu calendar showing the Hijri dates and these calendars were one of the sources of income for Arabic madrasas. These Islamic calendars are still in vogue. My cousin, Naveed, once told me that the calendar of the Murphy baby with a finger on the lips was a must in the bedroom of every expectant mother as it was commonly believed that seeing a bonny child during pregnancy would result in getting a cute baby.

At the end of the year, the discarded calendars were cut and used to cover our school books. Relatives coming from abroad would sometimes bring exquisite calendars with glitzy paper and impeccable photographs. At the end of the year, the portion at the bottom with the dates would be cut and removed and the precious photo would continue its existence on the wall till its colour faded.

In Karnataka, the Bangalore Press wall calendar was a must have as it also gave dates of Muslim, Sowramana, Chandramana and Nakshatras apart from Rahukala, Yamaganda and Gulikakala. In Karnataka government offices, the government calendar with a different theme every year was and is still extensively used since it is an authentic source of government holidays. The theme varies every year — the popular ones are historical monuments, tourist places in Karnataka and doyens of Kannada literature. It is a common practice in many government offices to affix on the wall only January’s sheet from the new calendar — a precautionary measure to prevent the entire calendar from being stolen. Every bank has its own calendar displaying bank holidays.

Much of the utility of the wall calendars is now gone since the calendar is available in every mobile phone and as an electronic calendar. You enquire any youngster about a date, and pop comes out his mobile and pat comes his reply. In this age, the launching of fashion calendars featuring skimpily clad models appears to be one of the few exceptions. Calendars seeking donations for charitable purposes make rounds but they come in different formats.

Once the fashion of hanging calendars on the walls became extinct, I switched over to table calendars. But whether you hang them on the walls or place them on the table or access them on your phone, calendars continue to be of great utility and are indispensable.