When was the last time you actually sat down to make a card for your Mom, handwrote a letter to a friend or a condolence message to a colleague? Maybe you did all of the above.
And more likely you took the easy way out with the regular card with clichéd sentimentality, bought over the counter, or the more convenient e-card that caters to every mood, every occasion, every season.
I don’t blame you, because in the world of technology we live in it is far easier to ‘web connect’ than get down to handwrite personal messages. But, please do not underestimate the power and worth of a handwritten note. As I learned… I was spring-cleaning the house a couple of days ago when I literally unearthed a hidden treasure.
Talk about junk yielding gold! This one came encased in a worn-out brown paper bag, the kind one got from card stores of yore where the name and address of the shop is emblazoned across the bag in bold letters.
The contents of this particular bag, bearing the name of St Paul’s Publications, Allahabad, not just brought back fond memories, spanning 35 odd years, but rewound in slow motion a vital portion of my growing up years, right from my school days to my first job in Delhi.
Buried within the frayed covers of the paper bag were old letters from school friends, hand-made Birthday and Congratulation cards from a favourite Biology teacher back in school, a note of appreciation from the church pastor, and a thank you note from a former Chief Reporter, a book mark made by my daughter, that once again greened the memory and brought back tears to my eyes.
I confess I am a sentimental fool, but there a moments when things go beyond the pale of sentimentality and acquire a deeper, more profound meaning. And this surely was one of them where memories were etched not just in the mind, but in black and white.
My Biology teacher Mrs Edwards is no more. She succumbed to cancer many years back but lives on in the lives of the many students whose life she touched. One of her most endearing qualities was that she never forgot a Birthday — of her pupils, her colleagues or her friends.
Birthdays in school were special, because Mrs Edwards always made them so with her beautifully created handmade card and poesy of roses from her famous rose garden.
Among the many things she taught and one, which she just insisted upon, was to ALWAYS add a personal touch to any effort, any endeavour. She never bought cards, preferring to make her own because genuine feelings “cannot be pre-packaged,” and her notes/letters always handwritten and not typed for that ‘personal’ touch.
“When you personally handwrite something be it a greeting, words of sympathy or just a fun note, it shows you care. Care enough to take time out for that person. That gesture, more than anything else, will win you friends in life,” she advised. In the world of computers, faxes, mobiles and emails that we live in, adding the ‘personal touch’ may seem difficult but not impossible.
Think of it this way, in the deluge of faxes, typewritten notes and emails one gets on a daily basis, the one that really gets noticed is the handwritten one! Not just because of its ‘uniqueness’, but because it carries the ability to make the person who receives it feel special.