THE CHARM OF GREETING CARDS
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
It was my 7th birthday. I went to sleep quite early the day before to wake up on time, get dressed in my best clothes and go to school. Waking up, I could smell delicious breakfast sizzling on the kitchen stove that my mother was making for me. I looked to my right and on the table laid a beautiful brightly coloured card. First smile of the day had come as instantly as I had my eyes set on the card that so boldly said, 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!' I opened the card and there was a sweet message in it. The card was from my sister and from then on, I could not wait to go to school and read all the other cards I just knew I was going to get. Those were the perks of the 'old' days when greeting cards were more than enough to bring happiness.
Greeting cards say a thousand words!
Greeting cards used to have a different charm over people. One could never wait to instantly open a card, read the messages inside and feel all breezy inside! There was a time when birthdays, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies and many other different achievements and occasions were all incomplete without a greeting card or two. Here, in our country, Archies and Hallmarks were the pioneer stores in selling greeting cards where one could enter and be surrounded by meaningful messages and greetings to pass onto his or her loved ones.
Wishing your friend the 'tech-savvy' way!
Cosmic Rizvi, a student of Islamic University of Technology (IUT), would always buy greeting cards to bring on that extra smile on faces of people dear to him. Even now, he manages to find cards perfect for every occasion. “I love giving cards to people. I love watching their faces light up when they read the messages inside. I do not understand why people do not give cards to one another anymore. I still buy cards, if there are ones available for the occasion.” Greeting cards are becoming obsolete. Well, maybe not entirely, but the wide array of cards for every occasion imaginable is definitely not there anymore. Rizvi points out, “Most stores that used to sell the cutest cards are now mainly gift shops. There are cards but only for those who have a girlfriend or a boyfriend. It is almost like the only occasion worth celebrating with a card is Valentine's Day!”
Nowadays, cards have a more official role to play. Big corporate companies send cards to their associate companies, media houses or other aliases during the holidays to maintain a good relationship. The only other use of greeting cards, nowadays, is on akhds, holuds and wedding receptions. During these occasions, people go from store to store looking for the right design for the perfect invitation card.
Today, thanks to the ever-evolving technology, birthday greetings and wishes are posted on Facebook, people are congratulated for their graduation via text messages and almost every other occasion is good to go if you have an expensive gift in hand. There were times back in the 90's and in the early millennium when a card was all that was needed to let someone know your feelings about him or her.
“I remember those days when every time any classmate's birthday would come up and we all would go to the card shop together to buy one big card where all would sign and leave quirky little messages for him or her to read! Even up until a few years ago, we carried on with this tradition,” says Samia Manzoor, a student from Independent University, Bangladesh. She adds, “My room is still filled with old cards that I had received from my friends and family. I still cherish them a lot and even now, reading the messages inside brightens up my mood. They are some of my most prized possessions!”
Some stores in the city, though, are trying their best to hold on to the tradition of cards. Jatra, for example, though known mostly for clothing and accessories, sell unique cards made of recycled paper. These cards are not only perfect for all occasions, as they do not have any for specific ones, but are also trendy and look gorgeous. Decorated with different materials and accessories, one can definitely add something of their own to it and also add a note inside. Like Jatra, Aarong, also known mainly for clothing and such items, also sells exceptionally designed greeting cards for every occasion.
If you are one of the few who still hold on to the tradition of giving cards, these stores are definitely worth checking out. Apart from these, e-cards are also great options. Hallmarks and Archies websites will easily let you choose an animated card from their options that you can just mail to your loved ones. And of course, there are always hand made cards that you can specially make using your own accessories and imagination!
Expressing oneself with cards might be old-fashioned, but they make your loved ones smile!
Yes, technology is taking over and it is probably the best thing happening to us as it enables us to move forward and make our place in the future. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, cell phone texting are all great ways of communication and keeping in touch. But greeting cards certainly do not deserve to become outdated. Let's indulge into the past with love and gratitude and show it with a greeting card!