Wednesday, July 11, 2007

penning a letter...

Writing a letter is fun. It's a great way to pass time. For you'd have to think pretty hard to pen words for somebody close to you. In order to write matter worth a letter. I always keep this in mind when i start penning a letter. I can digress to a large extent, and i'm sure the recipient will not be pleased to read meandering lines.

I think i started writing letters when i was in primary(?) school. There was a 'friend' whom i'd met at a summer camp. I remember buying Re. 1 inland letters from a neighbouring shop. I must have scribbled some lines and posted it to with affection. It sounds very foolish when i think of it today. But isn't that the ways of childhood. All things, whether silly or not, appeared fantastic. Then.

N went to the US when i was in high school. That was when writing letters became a habit. We used to write to each other regularly. M and i used to wait eagerly for a reply. M and i used to put in our share of stories. At times, mother also wrote to N.

It gave way to exchanging greeting cards. Wishes for impending new years, birthdays, festivals flew back and forth between her and us.

Friends at school who did have cousins abroad, hardly wrote to them, apparently. I used to be proud of this practise of ours. How exciting it was to read from somebody who cared for you! To feel the dents on the smooth surface of paper, where the pressure of the hand is applied. To see a fat blot of ink at the end of a sentence. Perhaps, the pen was leaking.

To flatten out papers folded stiff. To cut open an envelope carefully with a pair of scissors, so that the letter is safe from any damage. To hear the crispness of starched white paper.

M had bought a colourful letter pad. Each page had a picture Alladin and the Magic Lamp at a corner(with the genie in it's characterisic blue hue). She, later bought a pack of envelopes with floral prints in shades of lavender and purple. I still have them with me. I finger them lovingly. Reminding myself that they are to be made use of.

Some letters never reached their respective destinations. Laziness prevented me from posting them. On reading them, i recall those movies, incidents, news that i'd seen, participated in, and so wanted to pass on to her.

We, then got a computer system at home. But, the ritual continued as it took time for the internet connecton to be installed. Some of those lavender envelopes were relevant. Most of them still remain enclosed within a thin sheet of plastic wrap.

I've persuaded myself to start writing again. I've been successful to some extent. The World Wide Web exists to make the process of e-mailing letters a very easy task. But, reliving the joy of putting thoughts onto paper, being gung-ho about an anticipated letter is oh so! wonderful.


December Stud said...

Excellent!!! Letter writing is such a wonderful thing. But, I am guilty of almost killing it since emails and phones took over the World.

My mother still wants me to write letters and I shoudl get back. But, I do make it a point to write to my 105 year old grand father (and receive his letters too!!!).

One thing I differ on is that I don't think that it is all that difficult to write letters at all. At least, I have found it to be very easy. It just flows naturally.

I have pretty much saved all the letters from my childhood. And, yes I did start writing in my primary school too.

Greeting cards.....yes, my hobby is to collect thema dn needless to say, I ahve tons of them....

Nice post.....certainly nostalgic!!!

M O H A N said...

Finally a letter lover!!!

This is a dying art and most people due to lack of time have forgotten.

Once I wrote a letter to a friend in USA after a gap of 3 years and they were thrilled to recieve snail mail.

Email in a way has revolutionised but killed the thrill of opening a envelope in anticipation and re-reading it many times - from near and dear ones.

But like all things, this snail mail will NOT die.


parijata said...

A very nostalgic post. I used to write letters to a couple of cousins and a couple of teachers, but now all I do is just pick up the phone and talk to them!
I bought a couple of inland letters a few months ago, but haven't used them yet :(

Priya( said...

Ah the pleasures of writing and receiving letters...hmm...I used to wait near our house door for the post man to come and deliver inland letter or postcards.Still remember the letters sent by my grand parents.

Since the amount of space was limited in a post card, our mother used to make us write first in a note book and then copy it one to the postcard (i guess she also wanted that the hand writing to be legible when we write on the post card :) ) nice post mouna...

mouna said...

what i mean is i can write snatches about a particular thing here and there. at times the continuity is lost. and it can get a person annoyed.

retaining letters, greeting cards, envelopes; most of us do that.

true. this is something that will NOT die, people like us are there to continue this habit :D

that's what all of us do. i'm sure u'll use those inland letters in the near future :)

writing twice, i used to do that too. i used to postpone my lunch in order to read a letter(that's something i never do!)

Srik said...

Best thing about writing letters is the absense of following kind of communication :

1 hi

2 hi

1 what dude? hows it going

2. everything is going smooth. what bout u?

1. as usual, nothing great. Hws ya doin'

2. me fine, u?

1. me too. what special?

2. Nothing yar. u tel me.

1. Nothing from my side too...

And end of communication!!

No ideas exchanged, no special words spoken, no romanticism...nothing!!

But a letter, contains innumerable memories, hard to digest facts, a disturbing silence of one party, complete listening from another, fantasies, emotions...!!

I like snail mails...

The way we used to open the mails,
"ತೀರ್ಥರೂಪ ತಂದೆಯವರಿಗೆ..."
"ಮಾ|| ಸೌ|| ತಾಯಿಯವರಿಗೆ..."
"ಆತ್ಮೀಯ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ x ಗೆ..."
"ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಕ್ಷೇಮ. ತಮ್ಮ ಕ್ಷೇಮ ಸಮಾಚಾರಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಾಗದ ಬರೆಯುವುದು..."!


neela said...

Lovely nostalgic post,mouna.
made me go back a few years.
I too began writing letters very early as we were far away from near and dear ones.
My letters in self-taught Kannada were a source of immense fun and satisfaction to my gran. She would correct my mistakes and slowly I stated making mistakes deliberately so that the letters would keep her in stitches!!
I would write to my brother who was in a hostel for 6 years.His replies were the passports to that 'heaven'..HOSTEL.
I had created a sort of record in our hostel for receiving the maximum number of letters in one day!!
My letters to my would-be hubby, are still preserved(so are his replies!)after 23 long years.
I have many letters written by my father(-who is no more),mother, little niece,friends and students.They are a huge relief when there is no other book to read/when I am feeling low.

mouna said...

u said it right, no emotions, no nostalgia, no thoughts(?)...

e-mails can be so mundane!

simply wonderful! i too open those letters when i feel bored, with nothing to do. it' such a reliever! :)

Prasanna Sastry said...

You have triggred my memory wherein we always used to wait for my aunt's mail from b'lore when we were located in North. My sister used to snatch the letter first and read and i used to close my ears so that contents of the mail should be still new to me. Then my turn.

We used to ask my mom when would she reply back so that we could address our cousins on that letter. I think e-mail has spoilt every of the thrills.

mouna said...

i did the same. i had to be the first one to read. thankfully nobody used to close their ears when the letter was read by me. lols..

mother used to pen in now and then, not very frequently.