I was looking at a Facebook post, made by Viju JB,of a very old photograph, of a couple, taken at their wedding. This suddenly put me in mind of an old English magazine that was very much a part of our lives…the

Illustrated Weekly of India.

The subject title is because we had a Marwari newspaper/magazine agent, who would come regularly to our home, bringing the latest magazines, and comics. (Something that just doesn’t happen any more.) I can still remember his face! He would arrive on his cycle, accept a cup of chai from my mother, and both of them would sit, and settle down for a nice session. Dell (and later, Gold Key) comics, Archie comics, Illustrated Classics comics, and Disney….my mother truly bought them by the dozen, and though the Reader’s Digest had started coming home by post, my mother (my father only provided; he was never home, all these were my mother’s interests!) would buy the magazines…I remember the starting of the “Junior Statesman” which was soon called “JS” and became the trendy youth magazine. (I also remember feeling out of touch with the very Westernized lifestyle it seemed to espouse.) Time, Life, National Geographic, Femina, Caravan, Filmfare…and of course, what our newsagent called the “Lusted Weekly”, and which most of us referred to as just the “Weekly”. It was a large-sized magazine (they all were!), and I went through each issue eagerly.

The wedding photos used to be a regular feature at the back of the issue, comprising many couples, looking deadpan into the camera in the wedding fashions of the day. (Almost no one had a smile on their faces.)

I also remember Nissim Ezekiel writing regularly, Kamala Das’ “My Life”, and Khushwant Singh’s editorial stamp on the magazine….I do remember that Pritish Nandy was the editor at a later stage…his daughter and mine were born on the same day, and the mothers shared a room at the Woodlands Nursing Home (Nov 2, 1978.)

I enjoyed Mario Miranda’s wonderful cartoons, and Raji Nimboopani and Moonswamy were good friends. I remember Raghu Rai’s excellent photographs….oh…the Lusted Weekly was certainly a wonderful part of our lives in those days. R K Laxman did a lot of work for the magazine, too; I never dreamed that years later (Dec 8, 1992) I would meet Laxman himself, in Bangalore, and have a long chat with him about his work and life.

I never did know why or how the closed down, but it did, and passed into history…the Wiki says it closed down in 1993….the Wiki says it started in 1880, so that’s more than a century of life!

My life was always full of excellent reading material, and I must say, the “Weekly” supplied a lot of it! Thank you, Viju, for making me look back….v

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