Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Open Letter

"In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people's lives."  ~Anatole Brjoyard

     A week back I visited the post-office to collect my renewed passport. It's been at least 5 years since my last visit to the tiny, dark office atop a grocery store. Nothing much has changed over these years. My trip involved sending out a few wedding invitations as well. I had no freaking idea about the stamp value and checked with the postmaster (quite embarrassingly, of course).
     The last time I sent out a book post was about 10 years back. Friendship day and Christmas would cost me a lot for the cards and postage. In an era devoid of electronic mail, the postman was my gatekeeper to the outside world. Weekly deposits of "The Week" and "Competition Success" ensured that the tiny village in Kerala was updated. We would wait expectantly for the postman to trudge along, his old bag hanging by the side and a bunch of letters in his hand. He would come by the house, drink a glass of water - at times have a snack and then go on his way.
     Over the years, even as I type this blog out - I remember the times when I would receive a letter from a long-lost friend. Most of these letters have been chiseled by moths but the warmth of their imprints have survived time. There was a personal touch to every letter sent out, no spell-checks to highlight our errors, every punctuation in place.
     When I was in college, I remembered missing out on a couple of issues of "The Week". My instant reaction was to send out an email to the publishers. Within  a couple of days, I received a letter from "The Postmaster of India". He had received the complaint from the publishers and within 4 days, the issue was resolved. I was awestruck by the promptness of a machinery that had been termed as slow, at times delayed. Over the years, they've re-named and branded themselves with a newer image, "India Post". Although my interaction with the postal service has dwindled to a trickle, the image of licking stamps before pasting them on the letters is instilled forever.

"Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose.  In letters we can reform without practice, beg without humiliation, snip and shape embarrassing experiences to the measure of our own desires... "


  1. I had a childhood when my grand pa send letters to me and I used to reply for it instantly.Now I don't know even the postal address of my relatives or friends.Life has turned virtual and we too...Nice post

    village girl