“Shimla se khoob mote aur lal ho kar aao (Come back from Shimla looking plump and flushed),” Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his first letter to a five-year-old, Indira, on October 2, 1923.
This intimate exchange between the country’s first prime minister and his daughter is among a collection of rare letters displayed at a weeklong exhibition (October 9 to 16) organised by the postal department at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi. “..Is ke saath ek balloon bhejta hoon (With this letter I send you a balloon),” Nehru signs of in his letter.
The exhibition is an initiative to celebrate the now-forgotten practice of letter writing and to commemorate a bygone era, said chief postmaster general, M.S. Bali.
Letters written by other prominent Indians like C. Rajagopalachari and S. Prakasa, Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Homi Bhabha have also been displayed.
Bollywood figures with a neatly typed two-line note from actor Randhir Kapoor giving permission to lyricist Gulzar to use footage from his father Raj Kapoor’s film, Shree 420.
Citizens can also see several stamps and postmarks, a quaint selection of picture postcards of the city written by Britishers stationed in Bombay. The letters have been culled from private collections and government institutions.
However, it is disappointing to see some photocopies of letters on display, making them illegible. The poor captioning also leaves one unclear as to who is writing to whom.