The ban on the Short Message Service (SMS) in Jammu and Kashmir has turned out to be a boon for the few greeting card outlets in the city, as their sale has risen sharply ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The tradition of exchanging greeting cards on festivals and important occasions had gone out of vogue with people preferring an SMS instead.
However, there seems to be a change in the mindset after the SMS ban by the government, in the wake of the fresh unrest in the Valley that began on June 11 with the killing of a 17-year-old youth at Rajouri Kadal in old city.
"My business has been generally good as there were only few shops left in gift and greeting card business after mobile phone services were introduced in 2003 but this year it has been better," Bashir Ahmad, a gift shop owner in Lal Chowk said.
Despite frequent shutdowns, Ahmad's shop is almost now out of cards suitable for Eid-ul-Fitr.
Many customers, Ahmad said, are returning disappointed as they are not able to
"I bought cards on Thursday for all my friends and relatives whom I want to wish Eid Mubarak but there was a late addition to the list and I am not able to find a good one," Mohammad Shahid, a student said.
Ahmad said he could not replenish his stocks due to continuous strikes and curfews in the valley over the past three months.
"I did not place any fresh orders from my supplier in Delhi, as I was not sure how the situation is going to pan out," he added.
Ahmad said most of the gift shops and greeting card dealers changed their line of business as the sale had dropped dramatically over the past three to four years.
Adnan Bakshi is one of those businessmen who said goodbye to greeting cards and took on ready-made garment business.
"Before the mobile phones were introduced and Internet became a necessity rather than luxury, I was happy with selling gifts and greeting cards. However, it became difficult to fulfil my needs as the earnings dropped," Bakhsi said.