Letters. The hand-written ones. They have a special feeling. A delightful feeling so unique that a typed printout or an email would never bring.
I have a special thing for letters. They were my only source of communication with Dad about thirty years ago. Regular ISD calls were not affordable. Computers and printouts were not yet the ‘IN’ thing. And so I wrote and wrote. At the end of the month Dad, who was away in the deserts hunting for hidden treasures for us, had a bunch of letters to read and rejoice.
So when Shailaja announced the Snail Mail Challenge at Blog-A-Rhythm (BAR), I immediately accepted it. And then I anxiously waited for my assigned recipient details over her mail and a surprise mail in my mailbox.
It was fun writing to Rajlakshmi. I knew nothing about her and didn’t know what to write. The little I knew of her was through her blog posts and Facebook updates and the biography on her blog. I wrote and tore. I wrote again and tore it off. Again. And again. And finally when realization dawned about the number of trees I had wasted (wish I had met Peepal Baba earlier) by tearing off all those pages, I sat down and began typing on the laptop. Words started raining as my fingers tapped on the keyboard. I chose not to stop to edit or rephrase. I let it flow. Thus was written the letter. And then I took out my notepad and jotted it down. I sent it in the last week of June, but unfortunately she hasn’t received it till date. (Exactly the same thing that used to happen to the most eagerly sent letters to my father.) But thankfully, I learned some things from the husband: click everything you can before you send it out. I did exactly that. And so, I could send her a copy of the letter through email. At least she knew I did write to her. She was as much delighted to receive it as I was writing the letter.
And then one fine evening, while I was travelling I received an email with a subject ‘You’ve got Mail Rekha!‘ Usually I do not open emails when I’m on the road. But this was different. I screamed, sang, jumped and danced. Of course, with the seat belt on. Parul, my friend from BAR had sent me a beautiful hand-written letter. I could smell the ink. I could feel her fingers that wrote them for me. That’s the power of hand-written letters. They make you feel the presence of the letter writer. You seem to be knowing them since long. A bond is created. After I confirmed my presence at my address, Parul took the pain to send me the hard copy which I have kept in my locker along with the three big bunches of Dad’s letters from the past. I treasure them. This is my gratitude for the time she took out for me. Much much thanks, Parul.
And extremely sorry Rajlakshmi that you still haven’t received the letter. I wish one of these days, the post man is kind enough to drop it in your mailbox. As you said, it must be on a world tour. Here’s a glimpse of the letter written in my untidy handwriting. Sorry folks!
This whole experience made me recall an old friendship. A pen friend I had from Bangalore. Deepika. I started writing to her after I received her letter in response to pen friendship request through a children’s magazine titled Gokulam. I enjoyed writing to her and reading her share of stories. We continued this for a few years and then we were lost.
All in all, this challenge was a wonderful experience. And I’ll ensure sending hand-written letters whenever possible. It’s an altogether different experience in itself.
What are your thoughts on hand-written letters? Do you enjoy them as much as I do?
Read some other interesting stories on the Snail Mail Challenge here at BAR.