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…

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear vinay,
wanted to address u as 'kaloo' but I remember your parents saying u dislike being called so. anyway, I promise to write to u but u should write first giving address etc. I thought my handwriting was the worst. anyway thanks for the compliment. hope u r doing well. Love to you from pma and self.
ppa

artnavy said...

it is really a lost art. Improves ones hand writing as well. My favurite letetrs are those to my grandma- i would write my garnd pa in english and to my grand ma (using hindi script) in tamil
But spell checks/ redrafting were not that easy

aruna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aruna said...

Considering that whatever we receive by post today is only junk mail. . . bills, promotions, statements, offers etc etc with an occassional marriage invitation which almost gets trashed unless one is careful.Thank God people call us and tell us to expect the invitation!
Yes, writing letters and receiving them used to be such a joy. I stopped writing the day my handwriting became unreadable. I even went to the extent of typing a letter to my father and posted it. Ofcourse the main reason was that I had got hooked on to e-mail and he did not own a comp.
I will probably start with sending b'day cards..... when is your b'day?

Best

Aruna

Anonymous said...

Dear Vinay,

I still remember the good old days when I was in Germany, I used to write long letter to your Athamanni, buy beautiful covers and stick new stamps on every letter and wait eagery day by day for a letter from her. The best part was to ask my mailing staff to get me new stamps. She still posesses a couple of them.

Today, there is hardly any mail written. Most of the letters are sent through couriers and none of them are handwritten. I have totally forgotton how to write letters by hand. Its because I don't see any postboxes on the way!!!!!!! Hope you are doing well. Be in touch, love from all.
Moathan (Thants the way you call me)

Ramanu said...

Though I was never a big one for writing letters and used to feel it to be a dreary chore(mainly because of laziness),your blog makes me realize the follies of my ways.
Well, it is never too late!
I think, now onwards, I will atleast start e-mailing more regularly!Ha,Ha!!

itchingtowrite said...

hey nice one! nostalgic too. (how come ur mom got letters in hindi?? the catching the post on time is so true. indian postal dept is doing lot of new things to generate revenue- the postman is even collecting letters, selling stamps etc during his visits

Vinay said...

hi Itchingtowrite. Good to have you here! My Mom was born and brought up in Jamshedpur, before she got married and moved to Chennai. So she converses in Hindi with her sisters/ brothers!

itchingtowrite said...

tagged- check post of Oct 15th

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