Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Calendar Calling


Once upon a time there used to be wall calendars. A month in advance, their arrival reminded us that the New Year was round the corner. Given that my dad was a doctor, medical representatives left an assortment of calendars as souvenirs. While the ones with a scenic view brought joy for me, my brother fancied calendars featuring cars, bikes and Tom Cruise. Ma would then borrow a sketch pen and encircle important family events, payment schedules and PTA meetings. For me, turning a new page was strangely exciting – it signified a new beginning.

Currently, I am on a calendar check spree. In most Gurgaon abodes the humble wall calendar, once a drawing room display has been dumped behind the kitchen door. Instead, I find paintings of Ganesha and Buddha. The universal appeal of the above two deities have sidelined the other 330 million Gods in the Hindu pantheon. Religiosity may not be about displaying divine pictures, but I tend to agree with Richard Dawkins, when he says religiosity recedes with the advancement of knowledge and prosperity.

Coming back to calendars, the transition has been rather smooth. Gods paved way for nature. And nature paved way for Kingfisher models. This weekend I got a sneak-peak of Kingfisher supermodel hunt on ‘NDTV Good Times’. With a voice over by Mantastic Milind, the making of Kingfisher
Calendar has ‘bony creatures’ unlike the mainstream images of women, trying their best to blunt the edges of sleaze to give a sharp sensual shot.

It’s funny. For one, you never get to see a Kingfisher calendar as a drawing room display – not unless you are a friend of the erstwhile king of the good times. It is expensive and exclusive. You only get to see the making of it.

Second, why do they call it a calendar? The appropriate moniker should be ‘Kingfisher Poster’. I am sure, dates, agendas and schedules are the last things on the minds of those who look at them. The demigods of business prefer digital calendars. Any other low brow wall calendar in their plush abode is like Simi Garewal wearing a red ghaghra choli dancing in a Rohit Shetty film.

It is not difficult to understand why paper calendars lost significance in a digital world. The idea of simple paper calendars does not find acceptance with a generation that loves to complicate things.

Let me ask you this. When you want to remember an appointment, or when you have an idea you don’t want to forget, do you write it down or do you digitally record it? I prefer to write appointments on paper so that I can see the plan regardless of whether I can use a phone at the time. When I have an ‘A-Ha’ moment, I always write it down on the nearest scrap available. The act of physically writing something down works better for my diminishing memory. Of course, the scrap gets misplaced and results in chaos, but that's the way it is.

Like Twitter, I am unable embrace digital calendars whole-heartedly. They complicate the simple job of scheduling. You click the day, it pops up on another screen, you set a reminder, then set privacy permissions for entry and yet it beeps when you least expect it to beep!

Once upon a time my paper calendar established its prized location – right above my study table. Today, it is not at ease with the modern sensibilities. So mine hangs behind the study door.

What remains unchanged is the thrill of turning over a new page. 

Also on Huffington Post.

Picture Courtesy: Google Images (www.thenextweb.digicalendar)

49 comments:

  1. I appreciate your sentiments. Even I am a pen and paper person though I can't do serious writing like my blog posts and stories on paper due to my pathetic hand writing and propensity to get my hands inky even with ball point pens. But writing with pen on paper does help me track things to do and clear my thinking. Have already gone and bought an expensive diary for 2014 for this purpose.

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    1. I remember week when I scribble on paper. So we are on the same page!

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  2. I prefer paper calendars over digital ones. Thankfully, we get them with one of our newspaper every year, so makes my life easy. I use it to note important dates, maid's absent records and advance payments that she takes. The calendars which were once used as a decorative item is now relegated to the back side of the kitchen door!

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    1. More and more women use to for maid and milkman records. So kitchen, it seems is the right place.

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  3. I haven't looked at a calendar for ages. We used to get so many of them at New Year's but I don't remember anyone using it in my family. The only time I look at a digital calendar is when I am booking tickets or planning vacations. And for planning, never. Like you I prefer to scribble on a piece of paper and then turn the house upside down looking for it. For my professional work, I make digital lists and mail them to myself. That works better! I also make grocery lists on my phone. Any my fridge is the place where I hang a menu. That also included the list of all veggies bought for the week so that I know what to cook for. That's as far as organizing goes for me :).

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    1. I am unable to make grocery list on my phone Rachna. I am learning.
      :)

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  4. This post took me down memory lane when my dad used to get these lovely Sanyo calendars with these wonderful photos from Japan in them. I still remember some awesome photos of snow in Japan and other beautiful landscapes. Unfortunately, it has been more than a while since I saw a regular wall calendar. Although my mother and wife use a South Indian version which also doubles up as a religious day indicator with the lunar cycles and the Indian astrological system. That tradition will surely continue in South Indian Tam Brahm households for ever in my opinion

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    1. Yes, the traditional ones are great for remembering festival dates. So is it behind the kitchen door or in the Pooja room?

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  5. Like you all, I too prefer writing/jotting down on paper. Surely, it makes remembering things better than tying in some digital reminder app. Even I used to write on scraps of paper and then keep it anywhere in the house. Then, later, search for it. But once I started using a pocketmod, and keeping it in my pocket mostly, I don't lose it and it's very easy to make a new one if one gets filled up. I even brainstormed about a month of blogging topics/ideas on this pocketmod yesterday. Google for pocketmod, or read it at my personal blog - Easy Notes Organizer Pocketmod

    There's even a small software program from repocketmod.com which can print calendars, memos and shopping lists on pocketmod. Check it out, I think you'll love it, like I did. It can be made with a single A4 sheet of paper and you get 8 pocket sized pages to jot on!!

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    1. How great is this! I think I am going to love this. Thanks.

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  6. I do have a calendar and it rests on the kitchen door. I encircle the doc's app, gas cyclinder connected etc. I cannot do without the paper clanedar.

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    1. So I am not the only one!
      Thanks for stopping by Kalpana.

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  7. Very interestingly expressed true facts! Enjoyed reading every bit of it. I can relate to writing the A-ha moments on scraps and then they getting lost in the chaos. But the fact that it has been written provides so much peace and relief to me as a writer whose words have to be written/scribbled when they are at the brim.

    And how lovely you conclude...the joy of turning the page! Yes, time flies and now being an adult, its sometimes sad to see days/months/years flying by, but still every new page in the calendar is a hope, for a better tomorrow. Isn't?

    Thoroughly enjoyed your write up. Hats off.

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    1. Thank you Shaifali. So glad that you liked this.

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  8. I have two paper calendars in my house. One in the kitchen and one (a sarkari one) in a less visible corner. I have two felt pens, one red one green, for different kinds of markings on the significant dates. Maid advance taken and leaves, Next Parentous post due date, happy birthday of those I may forget, concert date venue timing - I use my calendar enough to leave no room on the page, before the page turns. And page turning is a Moment in my kitchen. My son and I do it together. I feign a surprise at the next picture, and he genuinely gasps. I look forward to the 1st, month after month.
    There is something very reassuring about a calendar hanging in my kitchen. This post made me feel all warm. Also made me happily realise I am not the only one. :)

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    1. And I imagined that all the young ones now prefer digital interfaces.
      The pride of drawing rooms has moved to the kitchen. More and more women use it for maid and milkman records.
      I scribble, I doodle and I even draw on my calendar.
      Your comment, almost always packs so much warmth that one looks forward to it after publishing a post. :) thanks.

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  9. My office desk still sports a desk calendar, and there's one on our fridge at home. While the office calendar marks the start of a new day, and I often look at it because I lose track of time and days too soon, the home calendar is primarily used to mark in red the days when our maid did not come and cook for us.
    Google Calendar work fine with me for very long term schedules like the half yearly 3G recharge on the MTNL SIM which I seldom use, etc. Rest, I don't think I plan much.
    Nice post there.

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Office desk is fine. However, the drawing room display has moved to the kitchen in many abodes.

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  10. Count me in, Alka. It was such a pain hunting for a good calender in Gurgaon that I had to ask the husband to get it from one of his trips to the USA. Thankfully, most museums have excellent ones featuring masterpieces. Have always hated the thin papery ones with dates in bold, As for appointments, I prefer my mobile's trusted Reminder app.

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    1. True. Paper calendars with Bhagwan ji image just don't sit pretty with the mobile crowd. But they are so simple and practical.

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  11. Mom being a teacher has always taught us the importance of physically writing down everything possible because it leaves a mark in your memory. She had a calendar in the kitchen and one in the living room the kitchen one was full of scribblings including DDA installment, tuition fee, milk-man's advance, and so on. I have got some of it in me, and do have a calendar in my bedroom where I scribble things to remember. But honestly, I do find the phone calendar pretty handy too as it reminds me with a beep though as you mentionedtat a very inappropriate time. Loved the post.

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    1. Thanks. Glad you were able to connect with the post.
      It seems almost everyone has one in the kitchen..for maid and milkman records.

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  12. My dad used to get a complimentary calendar every year from a company with some actress pic on it. In a 'devi' pose wearing silk Saree and lighting a lamp . Each year I used to wait with so much curiosity for that. Also every house had a daily sheet calendar and tearing the sheet off used to be a routine act. Some of these had the daily horoscope on it. Just one word for every rashi. You are right, the thrill of turning over a new page is awesome

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  13. The closest I ever came to a Kingfisher calendar was to see a digital version:) Still trust the Laxmi Ganesh calendars more than digital ones though now most of the 'to do' list now goes on the smart phone or the outlook calendar!

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  14. I prefer my calendars to have nature scenes. They're good to look at whatever your mood may be. My Mom's a doctor, so I'm also used to the deluge of diaries and calendars during December :-). As for me, I have a paper calendar in the kitchen, with all family appointments and holidays marked on it. Of course digital calendars on your phone are useful when you don't have paper and suddenly need to plan something and need to know the day or date.

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    1. :) girls prefer nature while boys, well, the popularity of KF calendar says it all.

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  15. I realy appretiate the way you wrote the post... beautiful message :)

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  16. I find it thrilling o cricle important dates in an upcoming months :) I have a traditional "Malayala Manorama" (kerala) calendar right a/c our bed. you might think it so that I see ti first in the morning, but I rarely do so, but it sure is the last thing I look at every night, and I like it to be there - whether it suits my walls or the colors ;) I NEED my paper calendar :)

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  17. Tell me about it..My dad was in the fertiliser business and he would get a zillion calendars with god images on them. And oh gawdd.....the devotee he is, he would adorn all the walls and that would just get on my nerves...And hey..I prefer to write things down rather than digital saving...I stick all my kids' reminders on the friz :) I like it that way...makes life simple and easy...

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  18. I am not attached paper calendars like how i used to be once. The only charm that remains is turning over to a new page, new month, new year. :) This was a good read Alka.

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  19. Its a pain nowadays to hunt for the phone, dig that tablet out or switch on the laptop just to check the calendar.. for me post-its form the best platform for my to-do list, somehow can never get myself to make those notes on a digital one :)

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  20. haha...this post reminds me of one year during my childhood, when in my grandpa's home..my uncle (whos a govt employee) got many calenders and in his enthusiasm hung them in each room, corridor possible.....till there was no viable space left to hang.....and he still had one calender left...so he hung it in the loo!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. Depending on the cover picture, in the loo is not a bad idea at all Sush.
      I am so happy to see you here.
      Thanks.

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  21. Now that we dont rely entirely on wall calenders but I always like some nice calenders with some natural scenery :-)

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  22. I have a vague idea that there are calendars in my house but I am not sure where they are. I use notes and alarms on my mobile. :)

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    1. Alarms yes, but my notes are always on a scrap.

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  23. The flipside of the digital age...fun read!
    I loved the floral gardens calendar the most...me n brother used to store all the wall calendars with amazing photography...those were the times we didn't know about SLR cameras and were amazed by the photographs.

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  24. Spot on, Alka! I belong to the old school of keeping calendar on the wall, investing rupaiyas in a brand new diary every year and scribbling on paper. Somehow, digital calendar, diary and e-books doesn't make sense to me. So loove this post.
    Cheerio
    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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  25. I still use the opportunity of turning the page when the month ends. I love the DREAMWORKS calendars my husband gets with animated characters like Croods, Shrek etc. I eagerly wait for the new character to adorn the wall. Seriously we shud use the calendars . They are just beautiful and may b am not modern at all. I never remember to set reminders. Once only for some medication I have set alarms but even they didn't seem that useful.
    Lved ur post Alka.
    Hope u hav great memories in the calendar of 2014

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