I was reading a post by Irfaan, which reminded me of this post I had earlier written, The art of Letter writing is becoming a endangered species ..
I walked into my office , the lady at the reception was sitting.
“Good morning Liz”…
“Good morning Bikraaaaam”. (This is how they pronounce my name)…
As I walked past her, she called me back, “Bik, I have something for you,” she had a blue envelope in her hands, passed it on to me … it was one of AIRMAIL Aerogramme that we had in India to post abroad.
OH MY GOD… I was like in shock… it’s the last thing I was expecting… A Letter for me … I mean we are in 21st century… Letters are not heard of I mean the Hand-Written ones , Now is the time of Blogs, Emails, Scraps, and SMS… Tweets etc… Off liners… Chats… Facebook…
Believe me it was nostalgic moment, I opened the letter carefully, cause the gum is bad and you have to tear off the corners to open it, I did not want to spoil anything. The letter was from my youngest MAASI (mum’s sister). All this time I had forgotten her Birthday was same as mine 11th November, and she wrote a letter to me. SHAME ON ME…
It was such a great feeling, I have so many handwritten letters from lots of people, When I had come to UK, I had made sure I brought all those with me, I am a sucker for such nostalgic stuff. I reached home and opened my box of Emotions-Memories-Warmth-Love, even when some of these have got torn and faded the memories they evoke are rich and resonant. So many memories came flooding back, not all Emails, SMS messages, Scraps invoke such emotions.
Oh all those lovely memories, I agree that world has changed and its time of technology, so many emails are sent every day, But imagine the Hand written letters, those carefully chosen words, written slowly, Imagine the thought going behind the words being written, then the time it took to reach, even though the news by that time was late yet it brought all that JOY, HAPINESS, WARMTH, TEAR, SORROW, everything with it and then you sat down to REPLY to it.
I remember I use to have a girl in my class, she later started to tie rakhi to me, immigrated to Australia after my 10th class, she use to write letters to me, every other week I use to get a letter, which I have till today all saved up, the fun things written in them, how she was finding living in Oz, what she was doing, the new people she was meeting, I knew her friends as she knew them there. I replied back to her telling her what is going on my side, my college days, what i was doing…
I also remember a few of my friends writing to me, The best are the letters that my dad wrote to me when I was in hostel , though they were basically STUDY HARD, STUDY and STUDY… yet thinking of them and seeing them brings back memories. My mother use to write to me in Punjabi, some of the words she used in the letters are sort of lost from the vocabulary now, the warmth – the sweetness- the love affection in it all.
These days all you get is a 160 character SMS or an occasional card especially on Birthdays, that too with 4 or maximum 5 words “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” “LOVE abcd”. I used to write long letters myself, I remember pestering people in the end of the letter why don’t they write more.
In School where I was studying SUNDAY use to be the Letter writing day, we were given the Blue inland letters , their use to be a special sitting, 10AM the bell would ring, all the students were to go to the dining hall, where the prefect would distribute the letter, while we wrote, then he would collect them and mark from his list who all have not given. It was compulsory to write, I remember I use to write 3 letters , To my parents , To my Grandparents Both sets.. Sometimes if I was in good mood write to other relatives, the letters were posted every Monday morning, so by the next week the wait started for the reply.
Lunch was at 1:30Pm, after lunch around 2pm all of us use to rush to the helper (BidhiChand was his name), he would have the letters that had come to us, he would distribute them, it was good moment if you got a letter , sad time if you did not, but nevertheless it was exciting.
Nowadays you start to write I am sure, hands start to ache, we are not used to writing anymore. It gives a very warm feeling when I check a handwritten letter from a close friend even after couple of years, the personal touch is missing in most of the communiqués that we send and receive these days. The Intimacy between the person who is writing and the one who has received the letter, sometimes you wonder that will the person you have written read the words as you have written, Will they understand the true meaning, the emotion behind those words.
If they don’t , then you write more to explain it all :), Wrote with more sincerity since it took longer to write, the heart to heart conversation that was etched on the paper, And the best thing was the beautiful stamps that were used.
Not all the emails or sms have the same magic as of those handwritten letters.
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By Pritish Nandy
ps:- Picture courtesy Google.