The excitement of getting a paper greeting card for New Year or Christmas has almost become a thing of the past thanks to the advent of technology. Paper card’s journey that started in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, a British Civil Servant, has almost come to an end amid technological chaos.
The words of Santosh Kumar Nandi, a senior postal assistant of General Post Office, Bhubaneswar validate the near death of nostalgic cards. “In last twenty years, there has been a drastic fall in the movement of paper greeting cards. Earlier, we used to receive sackful of cards every day from all corners of Odisha which now has reduced to less than a hundred. People now prefer to wish their near and dear ones on social media through various mobile apps,” says Nandi.
Udayanath Pradhan, who does seasonal business at Priyadarshini Market near CRPF Square in Bhubaneswar, also echoes the similar sentiment. He rues, “I have seen people queuing up at card shops when I was a kid. I also used to sell over a hundred cards per day when I started this seasonal business. The number has come down to a miserable 15 to 20.”
Earlier, the market was flooded with wide varieties of greeting cards that caught customers’ fancy. Besides, greeting cards bore a stamp of closeness and warmth when given to special people on special occasions, hence, were in great demand in the past.
Recalling those nostalgic days, poetess Bijayalaxmi Parida, says, “Of late, e-cards have become quite popular among the youths. But the joy of getting greeting cards cannot be compared with e-cards. I still have some greeting cards received from my relatives and friends. I have treasured and preserved them for years.”
Sharing her most cherished greeting card memory, she shares, “When I was studying in Rama Devi Women’s College (now a university), I received a card from an unknown sender. It was perhaps delivered to me wrongly. A little girl, in this New Year card, asked her aunty to buy her a pink hair clip and a drawing book. I received the card December 24 and couldn’t sleep that night thinking about the girl. The next day I bought her gifts and sent them via courier to the address mentioned in the letter. That card is still with me. I will cherish that experience forever.”
Like Bijayalaxmi, renowned singer Abhijeet Mishra too has some interesting memories about greeting cards to share. He recalls, “My friend Sukant (name changed) used to buy greeting cards in loads. During those times, we were crazy to buy New Year cards. They came mostly in the size of postcards having images of film actors and actresses. When I was studying in Class VI, my friend took me to a card shop. The vendor had some vision problems. Taking advantage of it, Sukant picked up a few cards stealthily though I asked him not to do so. He took four pieces of postcards paying for only two.
Rashmi Rekha Das,OP
Leave a Reply