Paper Trails | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
August 14, 2019

Paper Trails

Photographs by Joshua Navalkar. Product Styling by Swati Sinha

Take a fresh look at everyday objects – a collection of gathered invoices and documents from an afternoon spent checking off items on a to-do list

Many shop names like that of Saraswati Electronics sales and service draw inspiration from gods and mythology.

The thought of running errands isn’t usually accompanied by pleasant anticipation, but for Pavithra Dikshit, that is just the case. She has uncovered a moment of enjoyment during otherwise mundane tasks – picking up art supplies, visiting a doctor, getting a gadget repaired – when those familiar flimsy squares of paper, layered over inky carbon sheets, are marked with inscrutably scribbled shorthands at the end of a transaction. The graphic designer’s eye zooms in on their every detail; to her, no row or column or printed logo is accidental or without a function, and she sees beyond their old-school visual appeal. Physical bills still play a vital part in the day-to-day functioning of our cities’ small businesses, even in this era of e-commerce. Forgotten passwords and other such technical speed bumps are not an issue for your local baniya — ask him for the receipt for your last pack of gum, and he will know exactly which one of his countless ragged ledgers to pull it out from…


Bharat Dresswalla (A popular place to get outfits and accessories for costume parties) has, as the crown embellished on the handbill suggests, items fit for a king.

An artist’s go-to place for creative essentials (the palette on the cash memo hints at the same), Himalaya Stationery Mart Stocks a wide range of materials.

Trinkets come in different colours and local styles at SaJ and can be mixed and matched for a variety of ensembles and occasions.

A recall of a time print proofs ­— every designer’s favourite part of any project ­— were obtained at Reliable Xerox Company.

The passbook of a local baniya (grocer) who functions as a neighbourhood piggy bank, encouraging women to save.

An order form of Ruchika Hurria in New Delhi from where a gown was ordered and collected.

Diamond Auto Service’s slipbook provides a handy reference of the number of times the vehicle has been refuelled.

Delta Imaging’s receipt records details of the X-ray taken.

Presently working at Landor Mumbai, Pavithra Dikshit is one-third of Postcard People (an avenue to revive the sending out of postcards) and one-eighth of Kadak (a collective of South Asian women that works with graphic storytelling of different kinds). Explorations in the cross-sections of life and design, within the Indian context, outline a major part of her practice as a designer.

Related posts from Verve:

Leave a Reply