The Belated Greeting Cards

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Come Eid or a birthday in the family, there is a greeting card from a wonderful person that always kept coming; Till one day when everything about those cards changed....

Submitted: August 02, 2016

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Submitted: August 02, 2016

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Come Eid or a birthday in the family, there is a greeting card from a wonderful person that always kept coming; My early memories of these cards are when I as a 7 year old kid watched my eldest sister receiving her share of cards along with letters which her husband would write to her, as he was an Engineer on a ship and led a professional sea life and was away from his family for long periods of time. She would look at the greeting card, run her finger over it and then keep it to her side and open the accompanying letter to read it. While she quietly read them, I would often pick the card from her side and looking at it, would marvel at the picture and then at the words which he wrote in his beautiful handwriting; each alphabet would be quite measured and would be delicately woven to give in to his thoughtful expression to greet her on their wedding anniversary, her birthday, Eid and many other such occasions. My parents would receive their Eid card from him. As I grew, I came to know through my many relatives that they would also receive an Eid greeting card twice a year. 
His greeting cards have remained a very poignant part of my childhood and adolescent memory for long that I still remember a few ones. As a man of shipping, he traveled across the globe. The greeting cards would be picture post cards bearing the pictures of the popular and famous structures of the cities of the world. There would be other beautiful ones worded with love and care. He would send those cards when the ship on which he was working would be alongside and he would get a chance to buy those greetings and post it to his loved ones. From where ever those cards came, all of them exuded love and extreme warmth. While wishing a person he would keep that person's qualities and good things in mind and write to make it very special for that person. In hindsight when I I imagine those cards, I find him sitting in his cabin of some ship, in the middle of the sea, thinking about his wife, children and relatives while writing them. Isn’t it something to think about that though he was alone and must have felt lonely while writing those greeting cards, his handwriting didn’t waver. It was always the same – even and uniform, giving insight into his strong mind while he wrote them. Yet, he must’ve been smiling while writing them, as I could see all those receiving and reading them, smile. For about a decade I read those greetings while growing into my teens. My perception about him always remained the same – He was a man who believed more in giving than receiving. Away from his family he wrote countless greeting cards irrespective of whether they were answered back or not. They never stopped coming. There was never a complain in his writing. He was alone for a large part of his life, away from the very people to whom he wrote those cards but his writing never indicated any loneliness though he must’ve been very alone. Time passed and he moved from the sea life to a job as he had wished to and would say ‘want to do a land job’. There was no dearth of opportunities for this brilliant man; While leaving the shipping job he said that he was tired of the sea life and need to move to working other than the sea. He grew professionally while working in Jubail for seven years, yet his tastes remained simple – good food and the longing of his loved ones. Life was changing everywhere for everybody, postal addresses changed for many, but no matter the change, his greeting cards reached everywhere. 
Year ‘1992’ changed the way I looked at relationships; it was the year in which he passed away in a car accident. It was the holy month of Ramzan and he passed away while driving back home from his office. We were expecting him to join us for Eid later that month but God had other plans. My sister moved to Hyderabad with her children for his burial which took place four days before Eid. While people were celebrating Eid everywhere, we were thinking that had he been alive he would be sitting with his beloved family, eating his beloved food. 
I have always maintained that pain doesn’t dissipate, it just stays there and becomes numb making us immune to its presence in us after a while. 
Four days after Eid while we were going about our lives trying to fathom the impact of the sudden tragedy that had struck us, the door bell rang. My sister who was standing near the door opened it and saw a postman standing there. He had a bunch of greeting cards in his hand to deliver and he gave those to my sister. She took those cards and sat in the chair near the door and sobbed miserably. We all reached to her and took the bunch of letters from her hands. While giving away those greeting cards, she said that these are the last ones, even these have stopped now. Those were the greeting cards he had written before the accident and had posted to literally all the family members. We had received them after his passing away. I still wonder, had he not passed away and had been with us that Eid, he would have seen the smile on our faces which we always had while reading his greeting cards. The greeting cards did stop coming but what has not stopped is the good wishes that he had prayed for, for his family, through those greeting cards. People pass away and what remains of them are memories unique to their personalities. Times have changed and nobody writes letters or sends greeting cards. But for me the memory of the greeting cards will always be attached to his beloved presence in our lives.


© Copyright 2017 Khaja. All rights reserved.

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