TheCalmDev (Dev J Haldar)

ravings, rantings and ramblings

To The One That Taught Us Valentine!

Recently I walked past the famed gift shop Archies Gallery and I almost had a cinematic flashback. A reminder of how Archies (and later Hallmark) defined how we expressed our fledgeling love(s).

Archies gallery was the ‘be-all-end-all’ of all that we wanted to do for our high school crushes. In fact, I dare say, it was Archies that taught us how to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

It was a time when young teenagers used to survive on pocket-money that seemed like left-overs from dad’s wallet. Making a casual trip to Archies was imperative. And making friends with the owner, critical. One never says ‘no’ to discount or additional goodies from a posh gift shop.

They had everything. Endless racks of greeting cards. This was when greeting cards were fashionable and inescapable. Glossy art-paper with glitter and mushy illustrations that came for a bomb were considered, very ‘with it’! Of course there has been an industry decline with the advent of e-greetings and subsequently, social media. Honestly, wishing somebody ‘happy house shifting’ over BBM has no cost compared to shelling out 50 bucks for a greeting card.

Archies Gallery also housed gifts like teddy bears in all possible colours, music jewellery boxes, perfumes (names of which we’d be embarrassed to remember) and useless looking stuff that at that time could cement a relationship! For example a wooden heart with a band-aid or sticky plaster on it. That was so famous that it featured in Bollywood star Salman Khan’s first huge blockbuster (Maine Pyar Kiya, in case you wanted to know).

It also had posters! Of Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Prince and Samantha Fox. Yes, she wasn’t selling any records then. She did have other wares to sell, though! 😉 For sports lovers, Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini (she played tennis, we loved watching her), Martina Navratilova, Imran Khan and a bunch of others.

I was thinking of all the time youngsters spent there trying to pick up a card with borrowed emotions. The amounts we’d spend buying the latest album, trinkets, mushy nothings and teddy bears that said ‘I love you’ with no guarantee that our Valentine would last us the next season!

Today, as I walked past the gallery, I noticed the shrunk card racks and the tacky looking gifts. It was rather empty. Generation Today has moved on to bigger, better and newer ways of expressing love. Archies Gallery looked like it was fighting a lost battle. It’s called the battle of old age!


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