Magazines in my childhood

July 18, 2012

A thread on a mailing list to which I belong, started talking about old Readers’ Digest, and of course, I fell to reminiscing (why does one have to fall to think back? Can’t one maintain one’s balance?)

I don’t know the dates…but I remember that if one (or one’s parents) was subscribing, “The Illustrated Weekly of India”, “Stardust” and the Reader’s Disgust never seemed to have much to offer…but when I saw these magazines on a train, a waiting room, or in a public place, I could never resist picking them up, and they always seemed to have interesting stuff, especially if some of the pages were missing. I used to love the fiction in what our magazine vendor used to call “The Lusted Weekly”.

In the last-mentioned magazine, I used to look at the pictures..esp those of Mario Miranda….and when I was very very young, I would love to look at the pics of newlyweds….whoever started this thread has set me off on the journey through memory lane. I remember the serials, especially “My Life” by Kamala Das.

I remember growing up with lots of magazines…Life, Time, several British magazines, the Lusted Weekly, Fillumfare, some small rag called “Peshum Padam”, (the English edition was called “Picturpost”) all the Tamil magazines that I never used to read (except for “Kalaimagal”), and the Kumudam magazine ccasionallysmelling of “Cunega” a dreadfully strong scent (that was for you, Udhay), the feeling of festivity during Deepavali never being complete without the “Deepavali Malar” of all the magazines, with the “photos” of various gods, and stories….

We had a Magazinewallah, whose name I never knew, and he would come home, settle down with my mother for comfortable chats, and we’d buy lots of Dell and Gold Key and Harvey comics, too…I think he was a Marwadi, and what brought him to Calcutta and to this livelihood, I’ll never know….

Magazines ruled my young life, and shaped my thinking a lot…I learnt a lot about the world through those photographs…I still clearly remember that photograph of the girl fleeing from the napalm attack….Raghu Rai’s photos…Nissim Ezekiel’s poems…the ads….Margaret Bourke-White’s photographs in Life….

Excuse me while I turn a rare glance back into the mists of Time…and Life….and other magazines!