Once upon a time they were a craze. Come any festival, birthday or New Year, I would rush to the nearest card store to pick up an attractive one or one with great words or else one which was attractive and had great words. I am talking about greeting cards. Yesterday a fad, today no more, thanks to the advancement in technology and with it the advent of e-mails and SMSes.
In the 70s and early 80s, Gangaram’s on MG Road was the Mecca for card lovers of Bangalore. It had a fantastic collection of cards for all occasions and they came in all sizes. Visiting Gangaram’s to pick up a card was as exciting as visiting a showroom to pick up a dress. You would easily land up spending an hour or more browsing through the cards and then wonder which one to buy. Such was the collection that you would be spoilt for choice. Particularly joyful was shopping for cards before New Year, Diwali or Christmas because you would be buying 10, 20 or more cards unlike before a birthday were you would be buying just one. When shopping for cards I would land up making a deep hole in my dad’s pocket but he wouldn’t complain. Sometime in the late 80s, showrooms of card-and-gift makers Archies and Hallmark mushroomed all over the city. The mighty Gangaram’s had competition.
With the computer boom and invasion of mobile technology in the 90s, the card craze gradually started fizzling out. When greeting someone was as easy as keying in a short and sometimes sweet message and sending it at the press of a key, why buy a card? And it didn’t end with buying a card; you had to write down the address, stick a stamp and walk to the post box or office.
But everyone would agree that in spite of the long procedure involved in sending greeting cards they are any day a more colourful and touching way to greet someone than an SMS or e-mail. They really strike a chord.
The aura of greeting cards will always remain. They are the best carriers of greetings and will always be. And what is more they can be preserved for posterity. I have a collection of more than 100 cards and they give me immense joy.
It is heartening to note that many shops still sell cards. Gangaram’s, Archies and Hallmark are still around.
This Christmas and New Year, how about some card-shopping folks? End the year greeting your loved ones in style!