JournalismPakistan.com December 31, 2013
Life used to be so simple. You got New Year cards, for example, in piles and you opened them and they revealed so much about the current status of your relationship with the sender.
They were loaded with information. Some would have the names of the whole family and that meant these were close friends. Others wrote just 'The Vohras' which meant they had forgotten either your name or your wife's name. Another cover up for lapsed memory was "Bikram and fly." The fly being abbreviated from family. Otherwise, when distance had created mild confusion the card would say "...and kids." Clearly the sender had forgotten how many children you had or wasn't quite certain of their gender. Pretty silly it would look saying 'and the boys' if they were actually girls. All too often one name is remembered and then the card went, '...and the little one.' Which probably ticked off the little one like anything because who wants to be anonymous and you may not be that little anymore.
In reverse, you get to know the present status of the sender's family. If the wife's name is missing you know that marriage is kaput. If the wife's name is new then uh oh, he's gone and done it again. Extra kids means the human reproduction factory is still working and if there are fresh names along with the kids someone is becoming a grandfather soon.
The cards were like little mysteries. You spent hours arguing with the wife about the deciphering of the signature at the bottom of those cards all of us get that we can't figure out who sent them. Looks like a P, no it's clearly a G and that's a N followed by two esses or an M and ends with a Y, who do we know called Pomegassny?
Good stuff, hours of enthralling investigation, often left unsolved for eternity. Not to forget the one we could decipher but couldn't place. Darling who is BS Gupta and why has he sent us a card?
Then, we used to pin these cards on the curtain or fill up the mantelpiece with them as evidence of how well loved we were. The cards depicted nature in all her glory or were packets bought from UNICEF or depicted little children's drawings and, after the New Year was over, the littlest children would cut them up and make scrapbooks out of the pictures.
This year, little of this happened. The computer has overtaken this lovely year- end exercise. I got Emailed cards. They take 10 minutes to download. They are as warm and intimate as a dispensing machine. Attention. You are the recipient of an animated greeting card. You may access your card by filling in the blank spaces. Your password is 97979691534. Your access code in B33445623.
Please click on http://www2.bluemountain.com/cards/box7864g/mwz5memxdiccux.htm
This service is FREE. This service will last 60 days. Accessing your card means you have contracted with Website rules posted at the bottom of your Web.
Have fun, did you say? I have 16 cards with little a candle going flicker flicker. Now, the first time it goes flicker flicker you call the family and collectively marvel at the wonders of science but it is difficult to summon up enough enthusiasm for the deluge of flicker flickers which follows. By the time you have downloaded 16 flicker flickers (all your friends thinking alike) and memorized 32 codes and passwords it gets a bit thin in the enthuse field.
You want to read the rest of this article your password number is 009714667.............Say hello to the wife and kids.
I have nothing to do with this address that has popped up at the bottom and I can't get rid of it...sorry.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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