Aug 17
2015

Hello Snail Mail :) #SnailMailChallenge

Hello People πŸ˜€

I am thrilled to beΒ writing this post today, as it is about my recent re-acquaintance with the world of handwritten letters. A month back, my dear friend Shailaja, who runs a blogging support group (B-A-R), suggested the idea of a β€˜Snail Mail Challenge’. The challenge involved sending and receiving physical letters. While we all knew who the participants were, the exact person whom we would be sending the letter to, or receiving the letter from, was to be picked by a random draw. Oh and we couldn’t inform the person we were writing the letter to, that they were going to be receiving a letter from us.

Needless to say, I was beyond excited to participate in this one. Partly it was due to the novelty of the experience (writing a letter after a decade qualifies as a completely new experience, no? ) and partly because of the mystery behind it (not knowing whom you are going to get the letter from). But looking back, at that time I had no clue as to what this would actually entail.

Letter-Writing

Receiving my Letter from Pooja

I got my letter from Pooja as an e-mail, as I was in the middle of a move during this challenge, and was not able to receive a physical letter. Initially I was pretty upset about the timing of the challenge, as I thought that I would miss out on half the experience, due to my inability to receive a physical letter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. While I am sure receiving a letter in the post is pretty exciting, a personal e-mail is so very special too. I have never read and re-read an e-mail as many times, as I have read the one from Pooja. It is such a great way to get to know someone. Or even keep in touch with the ones you know. This made me realize, that how in the age of FB, Twitter & Instagram, we hardly even make the time to write a full-fledged personal e-mail. Chats and texts seem to completely dominate our world. It is almost as if we can’t commit to writing more than a few short sentences at a time. After this experience, I am certainly keen on writing more personalised emails to family and friends. πŸ™‚

Writing a Letter to Shubhangi

Writing a letter to Shubhangi was a major learning experience. I had imagined myself writing this letter being my smooth and suave self. No sweat. The reality was quite different.

Do you remember how the lead character of old Bollywood movies would sit in a room writing a letter, and then tear the paper, crumble it into a ball and throw it across the room and start over? That is exactly what I was doing while writing this letter.

I sorely missed my editing companions β€˜Backspace’ and β€˜Delete’, when I had to start over for every little scratch. I know, I know, that one scratch here and there wouldn’t have really hurt. I blame my perfectionist tendencies for that. But all the perfectionism in the world, couldn’t help my handwriting. So this is as good a place as any to apologize for anything that you were not able to decipher, Shubhangi. πŸ˜›

Also, my tendency to ramble and the inability to edit ensured that the letter was LONGGG, and writing started to hurt my hand. I am so embarrassed to even admit this, but well, it is true. However, I guess it was inevitable, as it has been a long time that I have written anything outside of Β grocery lists and to-dos. πŸ˜›

Moreover, I have a hard time writing something/anything without the use of smileys. I normally edit out a LOT of smileys from my blog posts. Β I have alwaysΒ felt that they are required to convey the emotions behind the words. Since I couldn’t use them while writing a physical letter (without looking completely crazy), I had a #LightBulbMoment. There is another, much more basic way to convey emotions. That way is called – Words. Duh!

But above everything else, I think it made me realise how much we depend on instant gratification. When we send a message on Facebook or Whatsapp, we can not only track if the message has been delivered, but also get to know if and when it has been seen. So, when I posted a letter, the uncertainty about the fate and the status of the letter, made me anxious and the wait seemed endless. Patience has never been one of my virtues, but in this case, what choice did I have? πŸ˜›

All in all, this was a fun ride, and an interestingly insightful experience.

I would love to hear from you guys. When was the last time you wrote a physical letter to someone? Was your experience similar to mine? Would you miss the smileys as much as I did? Also, I am curious, do youΒ still use a pen and paper for anything beyond grocery lists and to-do’s?

Lots of Love
Shantala
Linking this to Blog-A-Rhythm's #SnailMailChallenge.

Comments

  1. Well, looks like you had a kickass experience πŸ™‚
    Technically, you could use a few smilies in letters too πŸ˜›
    Sid recently posted…A death, a funeral and some ramblingMy Profile

  2. Aww, you rock, you know that? To be absolutely honest, I have horrible handwriting myself and nope, I did not crumple and throw. I simply *gasp* struck through. Horrible of me, I know πŸ˜€ Hopefully, my recipient is not too angry πŸ˜‰ I love the way you describe the experience and the emotions that went with it. How absolutely lovely! So glad you could be a part of this challenge and am thrilled to know that you didn’t feel left out because of the e-mailed letter. Such a heartening outcome of this exercise. Thanks for the shout out to BAR and me <3
    Shailaja recently posted…Camouflage #PoetryMy Profile

  3. The days of snail mail led us to value communication more because it was less frequent and more meaningful. The emotional high then was something else. One used to wait for the postman
    Lata recently posted…Fly, little one, fly!My Profile

  4. Wow… in the age of instant gratification, this is such a different experience! Looks like you had a great time… am headed over to Shailaja’s blog now to see if I can participate πŸ™‚
    anks recently posted…CreepiesMy Profile

  5. You had a great experience and I loved mine too. Such a great idea it was and mid of the year, we were all looking out for our Secret Santa! πŸ™‚
    Parul recently posted…This Independence DayMy Profile

  6. I thought I was the only one who crumpled and tossed out the letters! I wrote quite a few, finalized one, looked at it for days without sending it, finally got embarrassed cos I had rambled on and on for no real reason, scrapped that too, and wrote a brief letter instead. I now feel the embarrassingly long one would have been better!
    Sreesha recently posted…As Important As The Dance Itself [#FridayLessons]My Profile

  7. WOW!!! This is truly an amazing idea….. How I wish I could be a part of this endeavour. It has been ages since anyone has actually written a handwritten letter to me. The only things that have been landing in my mail bos are bills and marketing mailers:)

  8. Yay, the happy recipient is here…tada…. and I know what you mean by reading and re-reading, I read your letter a dozen times myself! btw, I hope you received my reply, and your wish of holding a physical letter is fulfilled… more about the letter in my post..
    hugs and love for making my day!
    The little princess recently posted…A little more love….My Profile

  9. The experience sounds so magical! I have sent mine, but looks like the recipient is yet to receive it. I wanted to write a long letter, but I only got to know about the existence of my recipient through the snail mail activity. So I just sent a post card with a brief message.

    Sadly, I haven’t received mine yet. I cannot wait to hold it in my hand and read and re-read it.
    Soumya recently posted…Naturally GiftedMy Profile

  10. This was such a great initiative, wasn’t it? I still need to blog about mine! πŸ™‚
    I remember when I first moved from Oman to India…I loved receiving letters from friends. Over time though, we all grew apart and the letters too faded away.
    Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life recently posted…If I was the Prime MinisterMy Profile

  11. Lovely post πŸ™‚ I had a great experience both writing and reading my letter and hoping to continue….but more of this in my post πŸ™‚ I love smileys too and actually drew them in my letters πŸ˜›

  12. Well loved being part of this one and I not only just wrote to you but received a heart warming reply. Also wrote back to the sender of my snail mail. Some things are so good the old fashioned way !
    Pooja Sharma Rao recently posted…Conical TalesMy Profile

  13. Lovely post! Personal letter to anyone? Make that 16 years or more. But I do use pen or pencil to write my recipes while am cooking so am not totalling missing out on the joys of hand writing I guess. I would totally make smileys in my letter too ?
    Nidhi recently posted…Tomato, Cucumber, Avocado SaladMy Profile

  14. I have a sister who doesn’t use email or social media so I write letters to her. I also write short notes to older relatives who don’t stay in touch online. Science shows that writing by hand stimulates the mind more than typing so keep on writing those letters.
    Susan Gourley recently posted…Ideas From Where?My Profile

  15. This whole experience was so much fun. Glad that you enjoyed it too! I can relate to tearing pages and crumpling them into balls and throwing them in dustbin. πŸ˜€
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…What to do When there are Too Many Things to Get DoneMy Profile

  16. Hey lovely post. I have totally forgotten about hand written letters but after seeing your post dug a few out. The last one was from my grandpa. You took me to a diff time zone. Thank you for that .

  17. Wow.. You brought back good old memories… I used to write to my brother when he went to US for higher studies and to my sister post her marriage…gone are those days now..I can’t even remember when was the last I wrote a letter..Anyways this really seems to be a nice idea

  18. Last time I got a snail mail was….ahem…huh…. I can’t even remember. I wanted to take part in this challenge, but I was travelling and didn’t feel like I could doing justice if joined in. But was good to hear the stories and experiences you people had. πŸ™‚
    Sheethal recently posted…Where’s all this religions taking us?My Profile

  19. I hardly do much of writing on paper, so I can imagine how it much be to write a hand written letter, atleast we can checkout our handwriting. Nice, that you guys participated in writing and receiving letters from each other, can understand the simple joy it gave you.
    Andapo recently posted…Neck Tattoo Design Ideas For WomenMy Profile

  20. You wrote a letter and then posted it to India? I saw another post on Shubhangi’s blog too. This sounds exciting. Writing letters, very personalized. Reading both the posts @Shubhangi’s and on your blog, I realized that writing is so much fun, than typing.
    Ajay Pai recently posted…The Three DimesMy Profile

  21. Aside from writing lists and occasionally notes to me I rarely write anything past my signature where needed. Typing is so much easier. β™₯
    Kathy recently posted…Disaster AvertedMy Profile

  22. I loved this letter writing experience πŸ˜€ It was after a really long time I wrote one πŸ™‚ I used so many smileys hehehe πŸ˜€
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Don’t think I can walk anymore !!My Profile

  23. Great idea of Shailaja’s! I’ve read a couple of other posts about this and am so glad you all had a good time. It reminds me that it’s been too long since I wrote an actual letter!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Idea Factory #AnythingGoesOnSundayMy Profile

  24. Oh I love doing physical letters you know and I get psyched if someone writes me an email. But it has become a long lost means of communication… SIgh! It’s great you guys are doing this πŸ™‚
    Bogglehead recently posted…Quote Challenge: 2/3My Profile

  25. Surabhi Brarath says:

    Writing physical letters had been the best source of emotional communication. My friends and I write eachother birthday letters and deliver them personally. The happiness you get every time when you read and reread the letters are ineffable.

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