The wall calendar, the sore thumb in living rooms?
Updated: Jun 20, 2020
My nieces and nephews have never seen a wall calendar (just like they've not seen a floppy disk). Wall posters, yes, but calendars that command a huge space on the walls of living rooms, no. I too have trouble describing the same to them. Not very long ago, it was a fixture in every home. Good, bad or ugly — they would adorn the walls. Mostly, these would be courtesy of an aunt or an uncle, who’d drop by at home at the beginning of the year and please us (children) with remnants of office stationery.
So, the calendar would be hung on a nail, mostly at a spot that would be easily viewed by all or behind the bedroom door on the clothes hook. I can’t recall anyone complaining about how it was a sore thumb in the décor of the living room or how its spiral binding often got stuck in our cardigans.
I'd watch mum make notes on it — of parent-teacher meetings, of electricity bills due date, of unannounced holidays taken by the house help, and more. The calendar was a window to our lives. It kept track of milkman’s dues, school examinations timetable, birthdays and anniversaries, water filter service dates, et al.
Over time, they began to look different. But, they never stopped coming. The pictures of mountains gave way to flowers and that of flowers to artworks by children. The leaves were now glossy too — each month, when the leaf was turned, we knew that mum would now hand over the torn one (of the month gone by) to us. We would draw on its backside and then complain about how the felt pens didn’t work well on the shiny side.
The spot for the desk (table) calendars was reserved too — on a showcase shelf (in the living room) or on the TV cabinet. Its purpose was no different, but it was mostly referred while planning picnics around public holidays. It was a sore thumb too, but no one dared to challenge its position.
I can’t recall if the calendars stopped coming because the 'said' aunts or uncles moved cities or if we declared that they were no longer pretty enough for our homes. But yes, with time they did become old news.
Important dates and relevant notes now rest in apps — in the palm of our hands or in the back of our pockets. There is absolutely no reason for us to miss the calendars, but yes, every now and then, when I shut the bedroom door I do look for the mark that the calendars would leave, year after year.
P.S: At work, we have been given table calendars, the traditional one with the spiral binding and dates printed in a bold, no-nonsense font. Mine sits ‘pretty’ on my desk.
This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.