Thursday, September 07, 2006

Good Old Letters...

How long has it been since you wrote a letter? Ah, I am not talking about writing an e-mail. I am talking a physical letter. A hard copy! Postcards, inland letters, remember?? Sounds like a bygone era, eh?

Frankly I don’t remember the last time I wrote a letter to someone and posted it. I think it was sometime in 1999 or 2000 when I wrote to my dad’s long time old friend’s daughter, thanking her for the Rakhi she religiously sends me every year. And that is about the only time in the year me and Usha (that’s her name) kept in touch.

I remember the not so distant past, when my mom or dad used to receive inland letters, faded blue in color, from my aunts and uncles living in different parts of India. The call of the postman, “Saar post”, used to get an immediate response from my mom.

Letter in hand, she would thrust her index finger in the gap of the inland letter and tear it open, careful not the tear the contents by mistake. She would perch herself on the doorway of the verandah, adjust her glasses and read the letter with great enthusiasm.

She would then relate the news to my dad when he comes back from office in the evening, reading it out aloud for extra effect! I can still hear the opening sentence and closing sentence which my mom used to read out aloud “Priye Janaki, Asha hai wahan sub teek honge” (Dear Janaki, hope everyone is fine at your end) and “aap logoan ko hamara ashirwad aur bacchon ko hamara pyar” (our blessings on you and love to the kids).

I especially remember the letters from my uncle, my dad’s elder brother living in Delhi, who would always have a paternal word of advice about life in general. The best part about his letters, was his impeccable handwriting.

I miss wetting the stamp with my tongue, sticking it on the envelope and then riding to the post office on my happening “Street cat” bicycle, in a hurry to catch the 10:00 O’clock post in the morning! The next clearance being 12:30 in the afternoon when the sun would be burning hot or at 3:00 p.m when it would be hotter! Nothing is more pleasurable, than the thrill of catching the postman in the nick of time, clearing the postbox.

The best part about letters, is it invokes a personal touch. The personality and mood of the writer could be felt from the letter. Till date I haven’t experienced, this feeling from an e-mail.

The personal touch is lost, the mails get delivered instantaneously, and a reply received almost before the minute is out! Sometimes, the simple pleasure derived out of waiting for a reply is also lost…

I wish we could go back in time. I would have loved to write a few more letters, and live to cherish the memories in the age of e-mails and chat rooms…