Thursday, December 29, 2005

Paper Greetings

As a child I used to collect greeting cards. I had some cool two-dimensional ones, handmade ones with pressed flowers and leaves, foreign ones from my aunt in the US, some friends of my parents in one or two other countries, and a lot of regular cards.

As the collection got bulkier I discarded the common ones and only saved the specials. But over the years it managed to grow beyond the bag I used to store them in, and I finally got fed up and threw them away when we moved.

Now I wish I had kept them.

Every year more people are choosing to send e-cards instead of paper ones. E-cards are easy, mostly free, and convenient. You remember today that it is somebody's anniversary, you can send an e-card at once.

And this same convenience is its disadvantage. Even an e-card selected carefully, and sent to be delivered the first minute of the day in question might be seen along with the other hastily sent ones. It is quickly seen, smiled at and deleted. A paper card, even if it is simple, is more likely to be appreciated, not just by the person whom it is sent for but his friends and family as well.

You can't send a paper greeting card in a hurry and yet ensure that it reaches in time for the birthday. You need to go out to buy it, select it from one or more shop selections, write in it and send it by post, which may also necessitate a trip to the post office. When I receive a card by surface mail, I know that it has been through this process, that somebody has taken the time and effort, and cared enough to send it to me.

When I send a card I'm tempted to enclose a little something inside as well, and it's a delight to be at the receiving end of a card with a photograph or bookmark or letter, that extra affectionate, personal touch. --> Can't be done with an e-card.

Don't tell me electronic cards are eco-friendly. True they don't use paper, but they can only be sent and viewed on electronic gadgets that are going to be buried in the earth, apart from causing other kinds of effects while they are alive and in use.

E-cards are cool, but paper cards are special.

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