I don’t remember the last time I held a Christmas or New Year greeting card in my hands. There was a time when the red post box on our black gate used to be filled with greeting cards for every New Year. Oh! The joy of waiting for them. The ecstasy of finding them inside the box when opening a card was something indescribable. It was something like finding a long-sought treasure. It gave meaning to my existence. It told me that I am loved, that I am cared for. It reminded me that I mattered to someone else.
My mother who used to accompany me to the greeting card shops. I used to have a list on my hand as to whom all I would be sending my greeting cards to. Special cards for special friends. Of course, there was a hierarchy, and the best card was saved for the best friend. It was all about giving and receiving love. What you gave came back to you.
Wonder what I did with those cards? It still rests in my red almirah. A treasure. An evocation of a time when everything seemed less complicated, easily comprehensible. A time when we knew by heart our friends’ addresses and phone numbers. A time when we waited for our friend’s call after a fight. A time when every moment captured in the camera mattered. A time when we owned every song that we heard. A time when our hobbies most usually were stamp collection or coin collection. A time when a visit to the library was the only door to knowledge. A time when autographs and slam books were the only way to conjure up our friends. A time when weekends meant going to the beach or the nearby parks. A time when children thrived outdoors and games meant, well, games.
It is indeed the loss of this generation and a gain of technology. I am not against technology, and in fact, I thank it for making our lives so much easier. But what I lament over is our loss of value for certain things. Our loss of ability to appreciate the ephemeral, fleeting moments of life. When was the last time we remembered a loved one’s birthday without any notification? When was the last time we captured moments as if every click mattered and kept every picture safe in the warmth of our hearts? When was the last time we eagerly awaited to buy our favourite music cassette, to make it our own prized possession? When was the last time we waited for the trunk calls from our loved ones from a faraway land? When was the last time we had a real conversation with our parents or anyone for that matter?
Life moves on, and I am glad and grateful for having had my childhood during those days, which though far from perfect, were, if anything, worth remembering. Indeed, our children live a life with its own privileges. Still somewhere they tend to become so automatic and so detached from the ground realities of life that nothing seems valuable or cherishable for them. They must be told tales of our past, not to preach them, but so that they ponder over them. They are much intelligent than we ever were, and it is possible that they may have questions that might put us at our wit’s end. But I am sure it is worth it.
This New Year, I intend to unbolt my treasure chest and show my kids what my childhood was like. They may laugh at the silliness of it, but they might eventually learn something out of it. Learn the fact that some memories are created and preserved. ‘Baatein bhool jaati hain…Yaadein yaad aati hain…”
Contributor: Sheema Shireen
About our Writing Program Student
Hailing from God’s own country, I am a teacher by profession. Apart from reading and gardening, I try a hand at writing poetry when inspired. I believe that an independent woman is a happy and content one, and I am on my route to achieve that.