We are a greeting-card loving family, sending and receiving them on birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, you name it. The word ‘send’ doesn’t do justice to the process, that starts with visiting a card shop, spending an hour or so scouting for the perfect card, writing a personal message, posting it- or if you live in the same house, handing it over ceremoniously first thing in the morning, or decorating it out there at night, like Santa at Christmas.
And then you can be assured your effort was fruitful if the recipient says the card was ‘so apt’! Those are the words you wait for. You see, to qualify as ‘apt’, the card must reflect the recipient’s personality, while also maintaining a touch of the sender’s personality.. it should neither be too sentimental, nor too simple.. it should be a combination of light colours and deep words, and words should fit just right.
Of course over time now, with everyone moving cities ever so often, and the trending of all things online, we have collectively moved to sending e-cards rather than physical ones. I like the zing of online cards, but I notice that one tends to forget them rather quickly. That’s unlike the paper cards, of which the prettiest ones found their way on the walls of the bedroom/study when we were kids. I have even carried some within books when I went to college, to put them on my hostel walls.
Yesterday was my Aunt’s birthday- the one who sends among the best cards year after year. I manage to find and send an ‘apt’ e-card. The e-card service tells me the card has been sent, thank you. And it tries to entice me into sending another one. I am enamoured by a shiny little thumb-nail with a bunny holding another, saying ‘It’s spring!’ It’s catchy enough to inspire me to be awesome and send it to my husband as a surprise gesture. Pleased with myself, I click to explore this card further.
“Thank you, the card has been sent to <Aunt>”
What?! No, who asked you to do that? Or wait.. maybe the card is nice for her too, let’s check it out. Apparently now that the card is sent, I can open it.
“Dear <Aunt>”, it says at the top… “With Love from both of us”, at the bottom.. “Press Play”, in the middle. I compliantly press ‘play’…
“It’s spring!” it says, as a bunny runs towards another..
Ok that’s cute..
“I want to hold you in my arms..” as the bunnies cuddle rather romantically..
“and kiss you on the lips.” ..I dont need to explain what the bunnies are doing in this part..
Gasp. Hand on mouth. “No, this is not apt!” I shake my head.
I am briefly aghast at this minor travesty. Then I imagine the expression on my Aunt’s face as she sits in front of her computer, witnessing her niece and son-in-law expressing an ardent desire to hold her in their arms and kiss her!
Then it’s just hilarious. “Congratulations,” the voice in my head goes, “you have graduated into the class of ‘smart phones and dumb people’”
With some effort, I find a way to undo the damage- apparently I needed to register for some new app of theirs, to be able to ‘manage my ecards’ and ‘delete’ one.
You put me through a mild turmoil, dear Technology- getting me to click on cards I didn’t need, sending them to recipients it is not apt for, and getting me to install an app I am never going to need again (hopefully).
But here’s the thing- thank you. We had a good laugh, and I finally have an e-card memory that can go up on an e-wall.