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Friday, November 24, 2017

Postcards come back with verse from Rumi & Hafez

Sunday, 07 August 2016 13:48
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PUNE, AUGUST 6: On a Thursday morning, Jeevan was checking his mailbox, when, amid blank envelopes and WiFi bills, he found a handmade postcard.

"It was the first postcard I had to my name in the last 25 years. A college friend who likes handmade stuff had purchased this set and sent each of us one," he said. He uploaded the photo on his Facebook page.

The comments were me morable. "I want one too," said one. Others were mostly inquisitive about who dabbles in writing postcards in the age of WhatsApp and Telegram.

Mumbai-based designer Nitesh Mohanty along with his wife Diya made 2 sets of postcards in 2014 in their company, The Root. "The idea was to marry the stock of old forgotten photographs I had been taking for years with poet Rumi's quotes," Nitesh said.The photographs were of Mughal architecture from Lucknow, Varanasi and several cities in Madhya Pradesh.

The Mohantys wanted people to write to each other using a pen and paper, and pay attention to the details on the postcards.

They picked up a word that could communicate the essence of the quote and then write that word using Farsi calligraphy. Nitesh updated his Facebook page with photos of these postcards and the creativity was well-received, which enabled them to make another set called 'Songs of Hafez'.

The idea of the second set germinated out of a book written by Elif Shafak, '40 Rules of Love'. Enamoured, they set out to create a fresh set with a complete new look, unlike the Rumi set.

"This set creates a story of how we stumble upon things in a flea market - artefacts, long-forgotten typewriters, a discarded book-rack, used anklets, a rusted pigeon cage, and I was inspired by the work of British illustrator Nick Bantock. His work on the correspondence between 2 people - one an artiste, another a writer - called Griffin & Sabine, was a benchmark of its own," Mohanty recollects.

Their next set is on Ghalib's poetry and is in artwork stage. The postcards, to be sent with a stamp, are created with a sense of personalization, entailing well-thought of details.

"We made them with love, put in curiosity and not research. It was a beautiful experience to introduce people to poetry and open a little window in their hearts," added Mohanty. While the Hafez set sold out, they hold a good stock of the Rumi set.

Closer home, Pune-based artiste Raju Sutar has been making postcards for the love of the format. In 1997, for invitations to his exhibitions at Cafe Sunrise, he made postcards and at Art Mandai in January, he exhibited his work.

"Van Gogh, as we know him today, is because of the postcards he wrote to his brother. It is based on that correspondence that we know the artist and co-relating it with him, I have taken to making postcards time and again," Sutar said.

An annual conference called Vichaar Ved that was started by activists after the demolition of Babri Masjid, will be held in December in Pune. Artists from all over the country would gather and Sutar appeals to artists from across the world to send their word in on postcards.

Earlier this year, the Election Commission sent 'Meghdoot' postcards to 3 lakh voters asking them to cast their votes in the May 16 Assembly polls in Puducherry.

Tawfik Manham, an electric engineer at Godrej and Boyce in Mumbai, and a designer by passion ran a sole campaign on Instagram from April 2015 till April 2016 under the hashtag - OnePostcardPerDay.

He made 1 postcard per day and posted the image of it on his Instagram page asking people to inbox him if they wanted it delivered.

"After college, I had free time and missed friends and family, so I thought of using my design skills to create postcards. That gave birth to that hashtag and I connected with people from 20-25 countries - complete strangers - most of who wrote back to me," Manham said.

Ask these artists what makes postcards work in today's age they all agree that people love writing. "Being romantics, we used Farsi calligraphy, flora and fauna, literature and tried to revive writing. Even though we are pressed for time, we like putting the pen to paper and pouring our hearts out to share and connect with friends and family," Mohanty said. (TNN)

 


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