| MINUS THE MESS: Checking out the stick-on alponas at a local shop. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
“Last Lakshmi puja, we switched from rice paste to poster colour. This year, I have got these,” smiled Sushmita Chatterjee at a Garia store, where she had just bought the latest city craze — alpona stickers.
Whether it’s Lakshmi puja or Diwali, stick-ons are increasingly replacing hand-drawn patterns.
For prices ranging from Rs 3 to Rs 10, one can buy stickers of traditional patterns such as dhaner chhora, kalmilata, satya chakra, kalka, lakkhir pa, lotuses and diyas in all sizes, shapes and colours.
While round, square and semicircular strips are meant for doorsteps, long stick-ons find place on staircases and corridors.
“For the past few years, these are what everybody wants. This year, we are sure to run out of stock,” said Bhanu Shaw of A53, College Street Market. Joy Ma Tara Stationers at College Square was also doing brisk business.
“These days, no one likes the mess and the trouble of the traditional alpona. Besides, these stickers don’t spoil easily,” said a salesman at Select Bookstore, Ranikuthi. The stickers, he added, are available in bulk at Natun Bazar and College Street.
“No one in our house knows how to draw alponas. The skill died with the previous generation. We don’t have any alpona classes in school, do we' Yet alponas are a part of rituals and we can’t do without them,” rued Banasri Chakraborty, a high school teacher, while buying stick-ons at College Street.
Malay Haldar, of Kalpana in Kalighat, stated: “Demand for stick-on alponas is seasonal and peaks before Lakshmi puja and Diwali. Those with silkscreen printing facilities probably make them.”