Thursday, June 09, 2005

Letters

Sundays are 'clean the house' days usually .... That sunday was no exception ... we were cleaning my husband's trunk - a precious collection of every single relic related to our love story - from the petal of the first rose he gave me, to the chocolate wrapper that i gave him upon returning from vacation, to the chits we passed in class, to the folders i wrote for our lab work, to the numerous cards i gave him, to the poster of his favourite juhi - that i bought for him at chowrasta ... to the beautiful handwritten letters I wrote to him over the period of 5 years ....
Letters .... are such special and wonderful memories.. Ones that you hardly see/write these days .... Letters of Nehru to his daughter were so special that they were published ...
Another such cleaning day in chennai once caught me re-reading all those letters my mother wrote to me and vice versa when I was at college .... at about 12:30 in the afternoon, i would come back for lunch ... and rush to the board where the postman would stick our letters .... coming back from the board, i would either be grinning ear-to-ear for i might have got a bonus letter (due to a postal delay two of amma's letters would come on the same day), and on other days would have a dull face for i would not have got even a single letter ... There were days when amma would write to me 10 pages .... days when i would write her one postcard a day ....
My association with letters start from a very young age .... writing to my mama who was in Ghana was one of my fav activities as a kid .... I still remember the thrill i felt at reading his first letter to me, describing in length about his life there, about how he missed his family and about how he loved my letters .... I still treasure that long parchment ...
One loving letter was from my creche teather's teenager daugther - i was her aide in all the mischeif she did - smoking a bedi, stealing mangoes from the next house, roaming all of Port Trust (in vizag) for a particular pastry she wanted ... visiting any exhibition she could hear of ... - she wrote about how she would miss me, how she would love to see me grow into a lovely young lady .... it still touches me and never fails to make my eyes misty even today ....
The art of writing letters is obselete today .... This is the age of e-mails and SMSes ... the age of cutting short every letter in a word so that it fits into the little space you, so that you don't "YELL" on the network ... long letters with flowy flowery handwritings will always be a sight to the eyes and will be seen only in museums i think ....
The other day at Krishna mama's place I was astound to see my great-grandfather's letters... All well preserved. The handwriting was so clear and full of authority. The sentences crisp and precise, and the usage of English was much better than any of the modern writers that i know of .... Those were letters to inform my grandfather the birth of my mother, aunts and uncles....
One rare treasure that I have is the letter my grandfather wrote to me ... written at a time when he could hardly see clearly, but one who sees the letter would hardly feel so .... the love and pride he felt at my getting a seat in RECW was conveyed so well in the few lines that he wrote to me ...
My mother till date treasures the letters Paati wrote to her while we were in vizag ... Paati's letters are a treat to 'feel' ... yes feel not read .... she would press the pen onto the paper so hard, that just by touching the envelope you would know it is paati's letter ...
Nobody writes to anybody anymore .... i tried a number of times to write to my mother, but hardly find time for it ... There were days when i had the interest and patience to decorate the white paper before writing on it ... i was never satisfied with the design of letter pads ... and here are days when all i do is admire old letters ...
There is still one person i know who writes .... My perriamma writes long letters describing everything from the menu at an event, to the saree to the jewellery, to what -who said .... to my grandmother ... Lucky person-my paati ... to be getting a letter even today ....
The next generation would not even see envelopes and inland letters, just as postcards are extinct today .... We are losing something very precious without even realizing it ...

1 comment:

Subha Srini said...

Very good one, vidhya!! i had all my relatives living in the same area and have hardly written any letter except for my sis when she was in hostel. You have aptly said that the next generation is going to miss something great. Her the letters of were more intersting than the emails...as we were able to notice the eagerness where she will write even on the folds of the inland letter or the blotch b'cos of her nostalgic tears