Scene One (two decades ago)
Sehar, a 20-year-old college student has completed all the preparations for Eid but she's still asking her mother for one more round of shopping. Her last round would include a journey through the famous bookstores in her area and special Eid stalls. She always keeps in mind the recipients and buys relevant cards for each person — a humorous and funky one for a cousin, whereas a sobre design with good wishes for a teacher.
Scene Two (now)
Eid is round the corner; Farah (Sehar's daughter in her late teens) is extremely busy with the preparations. During shopping with her mother, they come across a nice Eid card stall. Upon asking her daughter to buy some for her friends, Farah tells her mother that it's a waste of time and she will be sending her friends an Eid greeting through a website.
The Eid card fever is over and out. The efforts people used to take to visit a bookstore and buy cards regardless of their price is hardly visible. The joys of buying all sorts of latest Eid cards and giving them a personal touch with a message and a signature are extinct. Let's have a look at the reasons that have brought about this change
Technology takes over
With the advent of internet, email, greeting websites, SMS greetings, affordable call rates, hardly anyone sincerely believes in the worth of the handwritten card. The young generation is tech-savvy and doesn't believe in wasting time. They prefer a Skype chat with distant friends rather than sending them a card or a letter.
Shift to swift and cheaper options
The demise of Eid cards has a close connection with global recession which has badly hit people's purchasing power, mainly in economies like Pakistan's. Moreover, the cost of an Eid card has doubled and trebled since the last few years due to the rising cost of paper in the international market. Why would a consumer spend between Rs40 and Rs200 on a single card if he/she is getting an option of sending it free via internet or at even less than Re1 through SMS?
Besides technology and recession, it's about utilising time effectively. With our busy lifestyles, it's hardly possible to send Eid cards to every friend or relative, it's much easier to send one genuine SMS greeting to the entire mobile phonebook, or contact list on email.
“People used to call me a card freak, but my perception has changed over the years. Now I prefer to spend lthat money on some affordable gifts for my dear ones, rather than Eid cards,” Zainab, a middle-aged housewife, shares her experience.
Mr and Mrs Siddiqui, a young working couple comments that it's senseless to waste time and energy when you have quicker and cheaper technology available. “The point is to share the message at the right time; if we are doing it through the latest mode, I don't think we are doing any wrong, are we?”
Surprisingly, Eid cards are a source of professional networking now. There are people who religiously send Eid cards to the corporate world. Some take a jump to the latest trend of sending Eid cakes to maintain cordial official relations. The motive is to improve relations rather than share a genuine greeting, and it seems rather commercial as well.
Eid cards may have lost their value but those who have experienced exchanging them can never forget the joyful moments. Farewell Eid cards!