| Bipul Regon with one of his matchboxes. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Sept. 9: If poetry is all about firing your imagination, this one literally comes in a matchbox.
An avid poetry lover in Jorhat is emptying matchboxes, filling them with rolls of poems and selling them for a mere Rs 5 to help popularise Assamese poetry among the uninitiated.
The man behind the innovative idea, Bipul Regon, insists that the formula works.
“Innovative ideas always sell and believe me my messages in the matchboxes are selling big,” said Regon, a novelist himself.
Aptly branded Firingoti (small embers), it is also a “great idea for a novel gift”.
“It was in 2000 that I and a friend, Syed Pervez Hussain, conceived the idea of doing something different to promote known and unknown poets of Assam. We felt that poetry was fast losing out to the pace of modern life,” he said.
In 2003, they began collecting matchboxes from their homes and transforming them into “poetry tinderbox”.
As their sale increased, they began buying matchboxes in bulk.
As the boxes became storehouses of poetry, the matches were gifted to the novelist’s friends.
“Initially, the entire thing was a home production and the poems and the cover were printed in a computer. We pasted the cover ourselves and gummed the carefully folded poem inside so that one end would stick out of the matchbox. Even the poems were solicited and collected,” he said.
The matchboxes are, however, not available in shops but are sold by word of mouth.
The unique sales technique has caught on and Regon claims to be making a quarterly sales turnover of Rs 3,000.
Impressed by the innovative way of packaging poetry, Asam Sahitya Sabha president Rong Bong Terang, said: “We need more youths like Regon to further the cause of literature.”
Regon’s efforts at promoting Assamese literature are not confined to Assam alone.
Even while studying for post-graduation in Hindi from Ignou, he is editing a Hindi magazine, Purvai, where Assamese literature, especially poems, are translated into the national language.
“Purvai does not only contain Hindi translations of Assamese works but friends from Kerala and other places also translate poems written in their language and contribute to the publication,” he said.