Among the many conveniences that Western culture has given to the rest of the world, greeting cards must be considered as very handy ones because, if you observe closely, they help convey your inner most feelings through the most tacky and templated words. Don’t be a moron and ask why do you have to fall back on greeting cards if the people you want to greet are pretty much within earshot. This is not the age of reason, this is the age of sending love messages for your wife to a TV channel.
Anyway, just imagine you to be hopelessly in love with some girl. And if you are of the naive kind, you will walk up to her and profess straight your romantic interest in her. And mostly, she will not be in a position to reciprocate your love because: One, she is already married. Two, she is also in an extra-marital relationship with her neighbour.
But if you belong to the practical breed, you will saunter up to her and convey your feelings through a beautiful and expensive greeting card with the deeply romantic lines that would not have occurred to your unimaginative mind: ‘I Love You’.
Usually this works like magic: girls, as a rule, fall for guys who spend on expensive cards, especially with a picture of rose or the mug of a dog. Women will pretty much buy anything that has a photo of roses or puppies on the container box. You can even sell industrial scrap to them using this technique.
Some people like to think warm hugs work with women more effectively. But I would like to draw their attention to the major disaster involving Harbhajan Singh and Nita Ambani during the IPL a couple of years back. To jog your memory, Harbhajan Singh, who not only wears his passions on his sleeve but also brings them to the fore on his arms, bear-hugged Nita Ambani, who happened to be his boss’s wife, after the Mumbai Indians made it to the finals that year. Overcome with emotion, Harbhajan later pointed out that Nita was like a mother to him.
Any sane individual would by now have figured out that Nita would have been less annoyed by the hug, but more aggrieved by the fact that Harbhajan thought it fit to see her as a motherly figure. Now, all the trouble that she took with the botox injections had gone waste
The point is if Harbhajan had any sense, he would have given a card to congratulate Nita, just ensuring that it was not a Mother’s Day card.
Another important reason why greeting cards are so attractive to so many is that they contain what are generally believed to be as poems. Poetry has to be God’s way of speaking, especially since it does not make much meaning at a normal human level. More importantly, poems are popular in greeting cards because they help convey deep, personal emotions in the most powerful manner possible, which is by occupying a lot of paper space.
Let me explain with a simple illustrative situation, wherein your mother-in-law has suffered a fracture and you want to express your heart-felt congratulations on her wonderful achievement.
If you are a prosaic prose person, you will have it as:
‘Hi Mother-in-Law (MiL): Hard words break no bones. That’s why I had to seek outside help. Thanks. Bye‘.
See, the words just don’t seem to carry any emotion, especially your inner pain at having had to spend for outside help to make the fracture happen.
Now, see what you would have come up with if you had the good sense to verse:
“The world rosy
Breaking them costly
But I don’t mind mostly
And don’t come back fastly
Your face I want to see lastly
You are my MiL dear
Pay the hospital bill dearer”
Poetry also can help address the most sensitive subject that mature adults are generally reluctant to bring up in polite gatherings, even while being deeply confused about it in private and wondering whether they are getting it right: Yes, we are talking about punctuation.
As a practsing mainstream journalist, who deals with the written word day-in and day-out, I can vouch for one thing: 99% of those who write don’t really know much about the punctuation rules. The remaining 1% don’t really care as they have become editors, which means they can blame their juniors for their mistakes.
Poetry does the signal service of not needing to use any of the punctuation, with the pause and the period in the lines left to the imagination of whoever is ready to imagine that.
Alert readers, who have strong memory, will remember that we were on the subject of greeting cards, which topic I brought up because, this Sunday happens to be the Mother’s Day.
Now that you know the trick behind greeting cards, you sure want to get one with a suitably heavy poem that conveys no real meaning. But just remember that you don’t end up sending it to Nita.
As far as I am concerned, I grew up in an era when mothers didn’t know that there was a specific day for them. They pretty much remained mothers every day of the year.
Anyway, for what it is worth, Mom, if you are reading this (I know you are because you happen to be in same room), Happy Mother’s Day. No Mother’s Day card for you. Even though if I gave you one, you will think it to be a joke, which for a humour writer can be, well, the mother of all compliments.