Sunday, October 26, 2008

Diwali Ank – a glorious tradition

The Marathi tradition of releasing special magazines for Diwali (called Diwali Ank) is completing 100 years. Most Marathi families will buy at least one copy of the 400+ odd publications that hit the stand. You have "Pooja Issues" in Bengal and "Onam Specials" in Kerala... But nothing matches the width and depth of the Diwali Anks

Keeping this tradition alive is my mother who buys a few of these magazines every year. This year my father decided to surprise her by buying her a dozen of the best ones… So here is 3M’s father's experience of buying them from a typical Marathi dukaan. What better place to buy these magazines than Girgaon, the epicenter of Marathi culture in Mumbai. The obvious choice being a bookstore called M/s B D Bagwe & Co.

In the days of “Crossword” and “Landmark”, this trip was a re-exposure to the “old world charm” of traditional retailing. When dad enquired about the different Anks, he was curtly told that he will have to buy the list for 1 Rupee. Once the princely sum was handed over, a four-fold, two-colour list was handed over. The prices of the Anks varied from Rs. 10/- to Rs. 250/-. After shortlisting the 12 issues, he realized that half the prices did not match with those on the list! No concessions given… No person to pack the Anks in old newspaper… No plastic bags to carry the Anks home… They refused to deliver the Anks till the cab even though my father is a senior citizen! But the Dukaandar’s parting shot took the cake – “Which circulating library are you buying these mags for?”.

Welcome to the world of “Marathi Retailing”! For all those who do not want to undergo a similar grid can opt for the online option in dollar!

Diwali Ank recommendations by the other 3M (Middleclass Marathi Mom) strictly in alphabetical order:

  • Akshar
  • Kalanirnay
  • Lokmat
  • Loksatta
  • Maharashtra Times
  • Mauj

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