For me, everything is personal; life, friendship, interpersonal relationships, work, victory, defeat, insult-praise and wishes too. Am I dated or has the world degenerated, sinking into a cesspool by animating everything; wishes too.
I remember the good old time of hand-written letters.
Heart to heart, personal and memorable. No wonder, they were preserved not only due to their immense sentimental value but also as they reflected upon the prevalent social context along with the intrinsic relationship between the sender and the receiver. Letters written by Jawahar Lal Nehru to Indira Gandhi are so powerful that they can make a right-winger switch sides. Letters by Albert Einstein, Hitter, and Winston Churchill are potent reflections of their times and turmoil. But then the email was invented, and cc and bcc ensured that the personalized expression was lost forever.
Courtesy a generation inept at articulating and using words, in no time everything got generalized, including wishes too. This destroyed the essence of any wish which was intended to be heartfelt, personal even sacred. Why would I wish you? Of course, if you are important to me and I treasure you in my prayers and thoughts. Only then I would use birthdays to festivals, to convey my wishes to you.
Sadly now most of the wishes are forwarded messages; bland, with not even an iota of sincerity or emotion. This Diwali was no different.
Amidst the marathon of number games, likes, and friends, we are just another entry; on WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram. And like an entry, in a mechanical way, we get selected to forward a message already forwarded a million times.
Posting a general Happy Diwali or Happy New Year is well within the limits of decency if done on social media walls. But then forwarding wishes without intent takes away the sanctity of the exercise.
The same goes for Birthday wishes too.
If someone is worthy of your wishes, take that effort to at least write a line with his/her name, personalizing it, and making the recipient feel special.
I have noticed people replying to birthday messages on their timeline, with a single line announcing as there are too many messages therefore it is not possible to respond individually but thanks for the messages, etc. How rude! Who are you? Amitabh Bacchan? Even if he is your role model let me tell you that he still responds to every single letter with a personalized letter. I know his team must be doing it on his behalf but then look at his gesture and thought of addressing every single fan with their respective names, responding to their queries. That’s what makes him an icon.
I ensure that every time I wish, I write a customized message, maybe even a few lines of poetry. I know it is time-consuming but then it is a small price to make someone smile. I also accept that on occasions the recipient has responded with a Thumbs-up icon too. But then if they won’t mend their ways, why should I? As long as I live and care to wish, it will always be personalized, heartfelt, and with emotions.
- Amit Shankar