I have always been a ‘letter’ person. No chats, no messages, no phone calls, no emails can match up to the love I have for letters; those old conventional hand-written letters written on crisp sheets of paper and then that sentiment they used to engender: the emotion expressed by one’s hands and a blue pen. Yes, a blue pen it had to be, almost always. I started writing letters when I was ten. The most popular and significant letter phase in my life came when I was 12 and would habitually write letters to my best friend in school. She and I shared a huge part of our lives through those letters we exchanged. I remember the curiosity they always generated. We were in different sections of the same grade at school. The whole norm of talking for hours on the phone hadn’t quite developed then. We needed to give time to ourselves, each other and our friendship. Consequently, we began writing. The length of our letters ranged from as small as 4 to as long as 20 pages. Writing had become more of a tradition for us; I would write her a letter on a Monday to which she replied on a Wednesday. I would then send her my response on a Thursday or Friday to receive her letter the very next day. This went on. I reminisce how we used to be so secretive about them lest people would make fun of us. However, you cannot veil these things. We exchanged these letters during recess and a number of friends sort of noticed the act so many times. They would giggle; they would find it hilarious. Nonetheless, we never stopped writing.
Those letters always had the power to enliven me. When she would pass on her letter to me, I just couldn’t wait for the school to get over so that I could read her letter as soon as possible. There were times when the thrill got too high that I would swathe the letter with a book and would read it, pretending I was reading the book. There were those moments when I would purposely go to the wash-room to read her words. She did the exact similar to avoid the ‘time lag’ that appeared before reading the letters. Now, when I think of it, I find it so amusing. What is so intriguing about those old-fashioned letters is that they always and always came from the deepest insides of one’s heart. If you were used to writing letters or receiving them, you would value what they held; some magnificence, some beauty, some love. Our letters revolved around incidents happening at school, about the upcoming tests, about teachers, classmates, friends; about ideas, aspirations and dreams; about our family and some family-trees; there was art when she would draw and paint to make those letters striking, and there was poetry when I would write poems for her and our musings. Those letters bound us profoundly and beautifully. That’s what these things can do: the old fashioned letters.
At present, the internet and cell-phones have transformed the ritual significantly. Those sheets of paper which could even reflect tears and laughter in an unusual way have been dissolved by ‘documents’. That box of treasure where we stored all those letters has been replaced by something called the ‘Mail Box’. We don’t see them any more: the envelopes, the penned feelings, the wavy handwriting, the drops of tears which made some words hazy and the divine expression of our heart and soul. I miss those letters and the verve that they took away with them. But, don’t you think we can still do something to revive the old days? We have some sheets of paper, a pen and the right amount of affection at our discourse. What else do we need then? Just another ‘letter’ person 🙂
Are you one?