A simple card, a crude depiction, and a scrawled greeting transform into a cornucopia of love and solicitude
Chennai: A couple of days back, I received an envelope by post. It was a simple greeting card conveying greetings for Vishu. Though I was aware of the manner in which Fema cards encouraged artistic sensibilities, it had never occurred to me that I would ever be a recipient. The name and mobile phone number of the child who had fashioned the card was given on the back – Mohammed Nihal al Nabeer.
His father picked up the phone when I called Nihal. They were in his native place, Mahe. I could make out the joy melding into the father’s tone, when I conveyed my thanks on receipt, and appreciation of the greeting card. The card, which had blossomed forth from the tender imagination of the student of Malayala Vidyalayam High School, Purasaiwalkkam, was redolent of innocence and love.
Fema’s endeavour deserves praise. For in our connected world, where at the prod of a fingertip salutations hurtle across the globe in seconds, a greeting card heralds nostalgia. That too, those crafted by children! Nowadays greetings cards are seldom seen in the market.
Formerly, shoppers would throng stores on the occasion of Onam, Christmas, and New Year, to choose meaningful cards. Salutations would be handwritten, and the sender’s name affixed at the bottom. The following days would be given over to anxiety over whether it had reached the addressee. The mind would be set at rest only when greetings were reciprocated by return post!
A collegemate had called recently after a long gap of years. At the end of an interminable conversation, he mentioned my home address by rote. Since he used to send me cards constantly, it was imprinted in his brain. I doubt if even the most bosom friends now would remember each other’s addresses. With the changing times, I suspect that an element of artifice and pretence taints even our mutual salutations.
Another fad is the infatuation with emojis, despite the convenience of sending greetings through Malayalam or English being available at the fingertips. The character of certain greetings on Facebook smacks of an effort to please. Slowly, the falsehood behind statements like ‘Always forever’ and ‘Awaiting’, dawns.
We have to accept changing times, respect modernity, and welcome progress. But wisdom lies in recognising the immutable value of goodness and love ingrained in our hearts. Life cannot be distinct from those qualities. The effulgence from that inextinguishable lamp should flood the world. Like the greeting card from Mohammed Nihal, which transformed from being a mere salutation into a caress of solicitude.