Man, as a rule, likes to escape the Present. The Present is stressful, to say the least. It is full of struggle, disappointments, failures, humiliation. Man simply endures the Present. Hoping that things will change for better – वो सुबहा कभी तो आयेगी – but never seem to. The Present becomes an unending stream of drudgery.
Not so with the past. The Past always seems pleasant. It is a peculiar thing that what we dislike in the Present, we tend to have a soft corner for when it becomes the Past. Just see how fondly we hold our old school text book! And how did we feel about them when we were studying them? I feel that this fondness, liking or love for the past is partly because we have negotiated those things when they were the Present, successfully or otherwise. So there is a sense of achievement or a sigh of relief. Often the Past is also reassuring. If I have successfully faced/endured/fought/resisted/ etc. that, then I can also face what is in the Present. Hence our liking for escape to the Past.
But many times things are not so serious. There are a number of ‘neutral’ things that take us to the past. We have no sweet or sour memories associate with them, or very little, if any. Yet many times we enjoy them for what they are.
There is an old mirror with us. It has always been there. I have been seeing it ever since I opened my eyes. Over the years, though, the coating on the back of the mirror went bad and the mirror was consigned to a safe place.
A couple of days back my brother decided to bring it back to the mainstream. The glass fitter declared that the glass will have to be replaced. No other option.
The glass fitter had a tough time unscrewing the back board of the mirror. While he was struggling with the screws, both of unanimously decided the age of the mirror to be around 70-75 years.
When all the screws were removed and the back board was lifted, the treasure that was discovered was a medium to escape to the Past, a very distant past.
There were, in all, four papers used as packing.
Three of them are pages from a wall calendar.
Have a look at one of them.
The company publishing the calendar is one Hitkarini Press, Jabalpur, MP. Jabalpur is spelt as JUBBULPORE (the British indeed had a funny way of spelling Indian names). The motto of the press is “Prompt Execution and Reasonable Charges’, and they are ‘High Class Printers and binders’.
There are two boxes with diagonal printing under the arc of the mast. The one on the left says: इस प्रेस द्वारा छपाई कराकर शिक्षा दान के पवित्र कार्य में हाथ बढाइये। the one on the right makes a simple appeal. ‘Kindly patronize this press and help the cause of public charity and education.’ Such a simple, plain and direct advertisement! And they guarantee satisfaction.
Note the year. The year is 1940.
That’s a good ten years before my birth!
I don’t know if you ever expected to see a calendar that was seventy seven years old. I didn’t.
One very curious thing I noticed about the calendar was that at no place the address of the press is mentioned. I was surprised. Advertising your business, without disclosing your location is so illogical! I mean, how do you expect your prospective customers to reach you if you don’t tell them where to find you? I thought about it. What came to my mind was that the press might be so well known in and around Jabalpur (then Jubbulpore!) that rather than the press having to mention its location, others would be using as a landmark for their location e. g. behind / opposite / in front of / by the side of Hitkarini Press! And that then this calendar might not be for the purpose of advertising the press at all. It must be just another public service offered by the press, with a touch of reminder to support noble causes. Nice!
Curious, I googled Hitakarini Press. It was highly satisfying to know that it still exists and continues to serve the community. In the world that is completely dedicated to pursuit of wealth, no matter how, examples of institutions and industries started with some ideals going under abound. To see at least on such not only survive but prosper is very satisfying.
Somehow, it reconfirms my shaky faith in people and humanity.
Hitkarini Press, I never had any association with you. I never had an occasion to have anything printed or bound by you. I could not contribute to the noble causes of public charity and education through you. I had not the occasion to see how you looked then, nor am I likely to see how you look now.
But I am sure your charges are reasonable and you execute the orders promptly and deliver on you guarantee of customer satisfaction: that your customers continue to patronize you even today is the final proof. But there is one thing I know for sure. I want you to succeed and flourish for another century, at the least. Jubbulporians are lucky to have you.
And I want to thank those who came up with the word Hitkarini. What a lovely word! I was so thrilled to read it! And how appropriate! I love it!
Hitkarini Press Zindabad!