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Culture on the wall

A special calendar keeps Tuluvas outside the State connected with all the festivals back home


AN EMPTINESS pervades the walls of our living rooms and offices as the year draws to a close. This stems from the fact that they are yet bereft of their ubiquitous successors — the calendars. Always hung on walls, placed on desktops and even crammed in the messy confines of our wallets, one just cannot do without these calendars, for they serve far greater purpose than merely informing one of the march of time.

The purposes of calendars vary from person to person. While some may collect them for the sheer pleasure of it, others may want to gift them. The more artistically inclined may want to store them so that the beautiful pictures on them can be framed at a later date. The calendars brought out by Magnum Intergrafiks, an advertisement agency here, helps fulfil various purposes.

Magnum has been bringing out a series of calendars under the brand name Tulunadu Panchanga, which reflect the Tuluva culture and history. While the first such calendar brought out in 2003 contained photos of deities from important pilgrimage destinations in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, the second one last year featured goddesses from shaktisthals (seats of powers).

The Tulunadu Panchanga 2005 features Lord Ganesha in his various hues, beginning with Sharavu Sri Mahaganapathi, Mangalore, for the month of January. An interesting facet of the calendar is that the dozen Ganeshas featured in them are all specially decorated by their respective priests. The end product on high quality art paper is a viewer's delight.

The Panchanga came about as a result of the usual flood of queries Sudhir Ghate, Chairman of Magum, receives from the Tuluvas settled outside the State. "People are curious to know about the important festivals back home or maybe their village therus (car festivals) and other details such as the auspicious days and time," notes Gurudath Baliga, a member on the creative team of Magnum.

This put them on the challenging task. "After discussing various possibilities, we at Magnum settled to bringing out a calendar or the Tulunadu Panchanga. As it specifically caters to a limited clientele, the Tuluvas, it was decided to bring out all the details — including festivals, days, months and general information in Roman and Kannada script.

The team has compiled information on all religious events that take place right from Kasargod in neighbouring Kerala, up to Barkur near Kundapura in Udupi district for the purpose of bringing out the calendar. A cursory glance affords details such as kaala, (Tulu equivalent for days of the week and month), isesa dinokulu (special days) as well as the stars for the particular day.

Magnum prints a limited numbers of these calendars each year and sells them at a subsidised cost. "This is our contribution to Tulu culture and we have not seen it purely as a business venture," adds Mr. Baliga. "We are not able to meet the demand for the calendar as they have become popular with the masses. People are willing to buy them in bulk so that they can in turn gift it to their friends and well wishers."

Behind the success is a story of hard work and toil. "In the initial year, it took us a lot of convincing temple authorities to let us take pictures of the deities. Most temples have strict rules about photography. They also did not warm up to the idea of a Panchanga (an almanac) and asked us to buy them from the temple stores."

But today, the end product is on every Tuluva's wishlist.

JAIDEEP SHENOY

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