regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Letters to the Editor: Exchanging cards during festive season a forgotten thing of the past

Readers write in from Calcutta, Faridabad, Bolpur, Guwahati, Howrah and Hooghly

The Editorial Board Published 28.12.22, 04:40 AM
This is sad for people who stored cards long enough for them to be passed down generations

This is sad for people who stored cards long enough for them to be passed down generations

Cold comfort

Sir — For those of us who enjoyed making, buying and exchanging cards during Christmas and New Year, WhatsApp has been a great dampener. With thousands of festive GIFs and stickers at one’s fingertips that can be sent across with just one click of a button, hardly anyone sends or receives physical cards anymore. This is sad for people who stored cards long enough for them to be passed down generations. At times, fancy strings that came with these cards were sewn into attractive displays. The greeting card industry has suffered owing to the pandemic and the advent of online cards. While Gen Z’s switch to e-greetings contributes significantly towards reducing paper wastage, online cards do not have the warmth of their physical counterparts.


Sayantan Chowdhury, Calcutta

Hungry for votes

Sir — The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has taken the historic decision of providing free foodgrain to the poor — an estimated 81.35 crore people — for one year under the National Food Security Act at an estimated cost of Rs 2 lakh crore to the exchequer. This comes after the United Nations set a global objective to end hunger by 2030. The Union food minister, Piyush Goyal, has called this the government’s ‘gift’ to the poor. No doubt this gift will translate into votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party. One must ask, though, why the government has not been able to generate enough jobs so that people do not need to depend on it for one square meal a day. After all, above 60% of the population needing free ration is not an encouraging sign.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Stark difference

Sir — Two contrasting messages were conveyed at the convocations of two of the country’s top-ranking institutions — the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and Jadavpur University. While the vice-chancellor of IIT, Kharagpur reflected upon getting ample financial support from the Union education ministry, JU’s VC spoke of an alarming decline in funding from the University Grants Commission and other federal bodies. The latter acknowledged the assistance of six crore rupees from the West Bengal government. Allocation of funds to educational institutions should not suffer owing to political partisanship.

Sukhendu Bhattacharjee, Hooghly

Absent, Sir

Sir — It is surprising that the United States of America has not appointed an ambassador to represent its interests in New Delhi for two years. The American ambassador’s residence, Roosevelt House, remains unoccupied since January 2021 — raising questions about Washington’s assertion that it sees India as “one of the most important relationships” for the US. American officials have repeatedly pointed out India’s scarce diplomatic presence earlier. Since then, New Delhi has worked to raise its international profile, especially in Washington. It is a shame that the US has failed to reciprocate.

Shovanlal Chakraborty, Calcutta

Green wheels

Sir — The article, “Stress on need to revive trams” (Dec 25), is timely. Eco-friendly means of transportation like trams are better than other forms of public transport. The fuels used in buses, taxis and so on emit greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming as well as increase the risk of diseases like lung cancer and asthma. A higher number of vehicles also results in a steep rise in road accidents. It is thus time to revive the tram network.

Rituparna Mahapatra, Bolpur

Sir — It is disheartening that instead of being promoted as an environmentally safe mode of transport, tram networks have shrunk tremendously and personal vehicles — two-wheelers and four-wheelers — been given a boost. This, in turn, has caused a spike in traffic congestion and pollution. Trams can move at 40 kilometers per hour on dedicated tracks, while the average vehicular speed in the city is 10-12 kmph. The perception that trams, and public transport in general, cause congestion is therefore completely mistaken.

Khokan Das, Calcutta

Take flight

Sir — Sania Mirza, the daughter of a television mechanic from Uttar Pradesh, has become the first Muslim woman to crack the National Defence Academy 2022 examination and be selected for the post of a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. Having studied in a Hindi medium school, Mirza stated that language has never been a barrier for determined students. She had been the district topper in her Class XII exams and has managed to secure one of the only two seats reserved for women fighter pilots. Her achievement will be inspirational for many.

A.K. Chakraborty, Guwahati

Retail risks

Sir — Almost all retail websites offer discounts on occasions throughout the calendar year. Be it Black Friday sales, Christmas, New Year or some other event, rosy advertisements draw unsuspecting crowds. People unnecessarily spend money shopping online, tempted by dodgy promises of discounts. In most cases, though, the prices are jacked up by sellers in order to give the impression of huge discounts to fool customers. Buyers have to be careful and consider online purchases after comparing prices on several platforms because it impossible to check such malpractices.

Anita Chandak, Howrah

Holiday mood

Sir — Bengalis are perennially on the lookout for holidays and are often heard complaining, ‘Chhuti maar gelo’ when state holidays coincide with weekends. This work culture places Bengal at the lowest rungs of ease of doing business rankings. Our celebratory mood makes it difficult to focus on work.

Amit Brahmo, Calcutta

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