Monday, February 20, 2006
Recently, a friend reminded me how (greetings)card crazy I used to be! I am not even sure when did my love affair with the card shop start! I think it was my father who sowed the seeds by getting a bunch of greeting cards every festival season to send friends and relatives. Then, when I became old enough to visit stores myself, these card shops became my favourite haunt. As far as I can remember, I don't have memories of buying myself anything to eat or drink but the little money left after buying the monthly bus pass was saved only for buying greeting cards. Also, these card shops were the only place in Chennai where you can spend hours and come out with just 1-2 items or even empty handed.
In a short period, this card shop industry has become a big hit in India, IMO. Many a times I have found myself staring at a card with just the words that I had been looking for or struggling to come out with on my own! The range of occasions, the creativity, the word magic - the people behind it just amaze me!
I have this bad quality of remembering special days(birthdays, anniversaries) of friends and relatives. So, every month I had some reason to visit the card shops. 'Landmark', 'Best wishes', 'Xanadu', 'Fountain Head'.... wow! Those days! Some months were real tight, with too many birthdays(and if they lived abroad, postage will kill me!!). But then to see( or hear) the surprise in their faces(or voices) was all worth it! On the down side, the people whom I wished without fail every year started getting all guilty about not returning the favour(not that I expected it especially when nearing and after hitting the 'big 3', it's become such a fuss!) that they would wish days or even months before/after my spl. days!
After Internet and E-mail started becoming accessible to common Indians, I switched to E-greetings! Definitely, browsing e-cards online cannot come close to browsing in a card shop, but with time constraints and family commitments, I was happy I did not have to give it up altogether. Moving also made me realise the bitter truth that carrying my precious collection of greeting cards, gifts everywhere I went was not always possible. I guessed it would be the same for people on the receiving end too. After all it is the gesture that matters more! So, go on! Surprise someone with a (E)card! Like in the cute caption (by Hallmark?), "They'll remember you remembered"!!