My mom has this annual cleaning activity, and she insists that I participate every single year. Honestly, I love cleaning my bookshelves and wardrobes, provided it’s done occasionally. I’m no Monica when it comes to cleanliness but I like how the activity involves running through stuff which might probably be decades old, and reliving the memories associated with every simple little thing. It helps me go back to the person I was earlier and realize how fast time has flown by.
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Of all my treasured possessions I’ve carefully maintained these many years, I pride over my collection of Greeting cards. I’m not sure if the current generation would understand why a thick sheet of paper with some roses and words in random fonts, with some personalized messages, is such a big deal. I’m grateful to my parents for very many things and I’m particularly thankful that they instilled in me the habit of gifting greeting cards and collecting them. As far as I can remember, all the cards which were exchanged in the family were primarily from Landmark. It’s not as simple as just walking over to the store, choosing the occasion and picking a random card. I’d spend hours reading every card that had a nice design and then read the words to see if I could connect to it or if the receiver would be able to relate to it. It was a very elaborate affair, yet no one complained.
Since I was dependent on my parents for these Greeting-Cards-Excursions, it was tough to surprise them with a card. So, one year for their anniversary I decided to collect all the cards that I’d got (and a few that were addressed to mom and dad), I cut out the words and those cute teddy bear pics and bouquets and stuck them on a chart paper that I’d converted into a greeting card. Inspired by the success of this, I used this technique for a while, till I ran out of words and flowers from my collection.
After that I decided to make cards from the scratch. I outsourced the drawings to my sister and borrowed words from other greeting cards, adding my own words here and there. This was interesting. Soon, my words kept getting better (the drawings were still bad, so I continued to outsource it to my sister) and the joy of making the loved ones smile was extra special, because I knew my words had done the trick. I did use 123greetings a lot, I loved the fun and interactive animations but somehow the old-school me preferred physical cards to eCards.
Gradually, the frequency of gifting cards went down and a few SMS forwards were widely circulated for birthdays and other occasions. And then came Social Media. Many people blame social media for a lot of things, but I like how it has helped many people realize that they are good at something else apart from just studies. It’s interesting to read the birthday messages that people write on their walls, and you realize how incredibly talented people around you are. Though these messages and statuses cannot be said to have taken over greeting cards, I’m happy that the despite the medium changing, the power of words still remains and people still appreciate the words we use to pen our thoughts.
There is definitely some magic in these words. What makes a greeting card special is the way we are able to relate to it and the way the words help us convey our emotions, which we probably had a tough time expressing. With time, we’ve learnt that we don’t always need to take the help of pre-written words, and that we are capable of finding the perfect word to convey our emotions. When you realize that the words were handcrafted specially for a loved one, it makes it all the more special.
I’m not sure if it would be fair to compare greeting cards with the other mediums of expression that we currently have. At a high-level, the crux remains the same, it’s the medium that has changed. The power of the word can never be matched. All that matters is the thought- to either spend time going through a hundred cards to choose the right one, or rack your brains to find the perfect words to convey your thoughts. Either way, as long as we stick to some medium and aren’t lazy to express our thoughts, I think we’re all fine.