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16.10.2013

To know Hari Mina Bala is to know that he is a person full of people. People who are cool, people who store packs of energy, people who are creative, people who are up to no good, people who are curious, people who are made up of many different moods.

Over a Hari-made hot chocolate – “not as thick as Suzette’s, and not as thin as LPQ’s” we met him last month at his Cuffe Parade studio. Against the backdrop of a pretty A Bout de Souffle film poster and many many books, Hari talked about the death of the written note. “What do kids use now? Text messages? Emoticons?” he asked.

Sounding less like a preacher and more like a champion of nostalgia – maybe it was because of the box of old love letters he was opening – we agreed on both, death of the written note and dead-on consistency of the hot chocolate we were sipping. “I’ve saved all these - look," he said, pulling out hand scrawled notes, doodles and ‘I love you’ cards from his teenage years.The material didn’t look very different from the black and white greeting card samples that he proceeded to show us. One of them, plain white with a single black rose and “I think you’re lovely” written across it, had us at hello.

At the end of our interview, Hari asked to see a draft, we refused and so he Almost Famous-ed us with a “make us look cool”. Hmm, we thought. That could make for a fun greeting card too.

Card-iff

This is Cards by Anjali, a project that Hari started with his ex-classmate Anjali Singh, now a schoolteacher in the UK who began converting her doodles into actual greeting cards after being fed up with “boring Valentines day stuff”. Hari, the crusader of nostalgia, decided to team up with her to manage production and take the cards to the next level.

We’ve seen a bunch of these cards that are simple, sweet and mostly random - with one that would appeal to each of Hari’s people - with lines like “I’m sorry I threw up on you, it won’t happen again. (Probably)”, “You make me smile”, “You + Me HELL YEAH” and  “You Da Bomb (These guys agree)". These come on great paper – we’re told millions of samples were agonized over – and will start at approximately Rs 150 per piece.

“The ideas for the cards stem from random situations and conversations with friends, they are situations that people have been in before, but there’s unfortunately nothing to commemorate them,” says Hari, while telling us the story behind the “I’m sorry I threw up” card.

Want to tell your own story on a card? Anjali and Hari are open to customizing cards based on orders and even crowdsourcing for their designs. 

Roses are Red, Violets Are Blue

The duo is gearing up for the festive season with messages like “Shine on you crazy diya” and other drawings that you can call to order and have shipped across India so long as you give them some time. Hari and Anjali will also have a stall at the upcoming Fuschia Tree Cool Hunting exhibit on October 25 and 26 at Anemos, Lower Parel and are looking at retailing in select stores soon. Or you could trick him into a studio appointment and get that delicious hot chocolate.

At the end of our interview, Hari asked to see a draft, we refused and so he Almost Famous-ed us with a “make us look cool”. Hmm, we thought. That could make for a fun greeting card too.

Getting There: Cards By Anjali, browse their collection here, call 9987344224 for enquiries, email cardsbyanjali@gmail.com, see Facebook pagehere , cards start at Rs 150.

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