Writing letters is a forgotten art these days. People prefer exchanging messages through emails, SMSes and Whatsapp now but I believe nothing can replace the old world charm of writing letters to friends, relatives and even pen friends.
Writing letters was an emotional experience since it was done with love, care and warmth. It was the perfect opportunity to express feelings and emotions. The thrill of receiving a letter was unmatched too. It was awaited with much enthusiasm and the postman’s arrival was looked forward to by everyone. Postmen got ample respect in those days and people would stop them on the way eager to know if there was any letter for them.
The other day, I came across old letters and postcards while clearing a drawer in my cupboard. The first few letters I found were written by me to my parents from the boarding school in Nabha. Hostellers regularly wrote letters to their families. Going through the letters made me emotional.
I loved reading them again after ages. Most of my letters told my parents about my participating in plays and public speaking competitions. They often ended with the sentence and a question: “I am missing you. When will you be coming to meet me?”
I remember how we children would keep waiting for a reply from home. Every week, I would ask my house master if there was any letter for me. Years later, I learnt from my parents that my grandmother would check the letter box several times hoping to find a letter from me. How touching!
Whenever we hostellers used to receive a letter from home or friends, our excitement knew no bounds. We felt special and would read the letters over and over again. We would keep the letters in our favourite books.
Coming back to the letters in the drawer, I found letters my aunt’s friends and colleagues had written to the family after her death. She was once a famous basketball player from Punjab known for her zest for life but she died when she was just 19 years old. Her friends wrote about her amazing qualities not just as a player but as a human being.
I lost my mother recently and the only link my brother and I now have with her besides memories of her are the letters she wrote to us while we were in hostel. We go back to the letters whenever we miss her. They give us courage to work hard and take life’s challenges head on.
Sadly, not many like writing letters today. Despite the advanced modes of communication, I have realised that letters are for posterity. I have promised myself that I will never give up writing letters for it means a lot to me.