Posts Tagged With: letter writing

Pyaari Dimpi

Helping my parents pack their home of last 8 years or so and shift to a new place took both me and my sister on a trip down memory lane. All other times when they had moved, either we were too young or not able to come… each time, everything would get packed and somehow find it’s way in some corner of a cupboard or stacked away in the loft with an invisible table of “to be sorted later”. That “later” never came and the box was again moved to the next home as is.

This time is hopefully their last shifting as finally they are moving into a home of their own and both me and my sister came to sort, pack, unpack, and organize. Before the actual packing, we decided to go through each and every one of those boxes. One of the box had my name on it. It was a box that I actually had been looking for in my earlier visits home but never found and assumed it was lost in one of the moves. As I sat with it, I had mixed emotions of what I was going to find in it.

I knew I had packed it before my marriage and left it in a cupboard. Since then my parents have changed 3 homes and each time that box went into a loft. I opened it slowly and out came photocopies of Calvin & Hobbes that Sikander had made for me in IIT; some technical papers from my time in TI… most of them were of PLL and I remember how I used to be an expert in them and now it took me a minute to even remember their full form! :p There were neatly filed salary slips, bank statements, IT returns everything from those 5 years in Bangalore… and right at the bottom of the box was the most important package…

A simple poly bag filled with cards and letters. Letters from my grandmother, chachi, and school friends. Letters I had received when I left home for IIT. I am so glad that there weren’t any emails or mobile phones with Facebook, WhatsApp, FaceTime etc… Just plain old handwritten letters.

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My nani wrote to me on inland letter paper… the blue coloured ones with pre-printed stamps. Did you know, these inland letter papers are now discontinued? When I went to the post office to ask for some, they were surprised I even know of them! No one uses them anymore.

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I am now sitting with a cup of tea and my letters. Reading each one of them one by some. Some are addressed to “pyaari dimpi” (my name at home) and some to “Dearest Ashima”.. some are signed off as “Love me” and it is a riddle to figure out who must have written that… some have brought back memories of mischiefs done in younger days and friendships that are lost because now “we stay in touch through Facebook updates”. Each of these letters is like a story that is wanting to come back from the memories deep down!

I can’t turn back time, but I do want to bring back the emotions a letter used to bring. As I finish this blog post, I am going to pick up a pen and paper and writing one to a loved one.

If you are reading this, I hope you write a letter or even a small note and send it to your loved one.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

You’ve got snail mail!

In this age of ultra-fast communication, some crazy people are still following snail’s pace; writing letters to family and friends; letters to self and even letters to strangers! …leaving parts of themselves here and there.

Writing a letter is so much more than just communicating what you wish to say.

I want to imagine the journey of the letter I received, here. You wished to send me your thoughts in writing. You then took out a nice paper and a pen that brings out your best handwriting or maybe you wanted to send something in color! So you looked for your favorite color pen.

letter writing, snail mail, journey of a letter

some letters I was surprised with!

The letter begins with:

Dear Ashima,

And then the pen stops in mid-air. You want to think clearly; what it is the you exactly want to say before writing it down [after all there is no delete button]. The thinking doesn’t really work 🙂 and you say “let it just flow”. Pen touches paper again and words come alive on the paper. There are some crosses; at some places the whole sentences is crossed out and you’ve really covered it well in ink so that I can’t make out what was written! 😀 At some places there is text in between the lines.. something you thought of adding afterwards? And soon the letter ends.

Love, your friend ….

Oh! Something was left out and there comes a P.S.

The letter was then folded neatly (sometimes into 3, somtimes  4) and put inside an envelope. Then comes the question of address. At times you called me for my “exact postal address” but there was also a time when you wanted it to be a surprise so you “guessed” it!

[Yes it’s true 🙂 It happened just like that with me when Mihika decided to send me a surprise letter for my birthday and guessed what my address should be. She got parts of it right and I still think it was awesome of the postal department to deliver it! ]

And now the stamps. The trip to the nearest post office; finding out the exact value of stamps required for the letter; asking the lady at the counter “how long will it take”; contemplating buying additional stamps; licking the back of the stamp; pasting it on the envelope and making the last drop into the letter box.

And then begins the wait. Patience lasts up to the answer the lady gave at the post office. After that you start waiting for that call or message which said “I got your letter!”. Wondering if the letter got lost on the way 😮

And finally the call comes! “The mail today brought it something more than just subscriptions and bills. It brought you!”

It brought a piece of you for me to keep and cherish.

Categories: digital living, Gen | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Letters from a Father to His Daughter – Jawarhar Lal Nehru

And finally it’s vacation time. We’ve been waiting for this vacation since so long… I can almost sing “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go” :).

I was quite easy with buying gifts for all the younger kids – toys, story books, clothes. But a gift for Faaiz was not easy. He is growing up…. He is 10! And I didn’t want to buy any Noddy or panchtantra for him…. I didn’t want to buy him hungry hippos or similar toys… And he already has most of the games on ‘his iPad’. So what could I gift him?

I was browsing through books in children’s section at Landmark when I saw this one. Maybe it was the cover that made me pick it up but as soon as I read the synopsis I knew I’ve found my gift. It was about the Universe, the Earth, plants, animals, human beings, money, languages and about so many things of the world that we live in. What I liked best in the short 10 minutes reading that I gave to the book before buying were the illustrations; they help you visualize as you read…

I think Faaiz is of the age when he will have questions of how was world formed? Where did we come from? Why do different people speak different languages etc etc… Being a smart kid and living in a digital age; I won’t be surprised if he has already found a website that answers all these questions for kids :). But I still wanted to give this book… This book is a series of letters written by Jawaharlal Nehru to his 10 year old daughter Indira. Apart from fuelling a lot of inquiry, this book presents the lovely notion of letters! An art that has been completely forgotten in the age of emails. It also presents a more personal side of Nehru and Indira Gandhi’s upbringing. I’m not sure whether Faaiz knows who Jawarhal Nehru or Indira Gandhi are; living in the US, I’m not even sure if he will ever read about them in school; but I’m sure, being an Indian, one day he will know who they are or after this book he will want to know who they are.

I read the book before gifting it because I wanted to make sure he will enjoy it. The letters travel from the big bang – the beginning of solar system, to how life slowly developed over millions of years; how man from being the weakest animal became the master of all; the beginning of civilizations, trade, language, currency and politics. To me this book was a refresher of what I’ve studied long ago in history classes and also a revisit to a lot of museums I’ve been to. I could picture the ancient coins I’ve seen in museums, the tools early man used, the Egyptian tombs and mummies… The illustrations will definitely add to a child’s enjoyment of the book. For a 10 year old, this book will open new doors of knowledge. I hope it will lead to questions, inquiry and wonder.

Towards the end the letters might confuse the young mind as things move very quickly. There is suddenly too much information; too quickly, which is bound to happen… as Nehru himself says “when you cover millions of years in a few letters”. The letters should be read as they were originally meant to be read –one at a time.

Categories: Books, digital living, education, Family | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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