Hiya folks, I am thrilled to be 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 ‘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.
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. 🙂
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 ‘Backspace’ and ‘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. 😛
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 grocery lists and to-dos. 😛
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. I have always 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? 😛
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 you still use a pen and paper for anything beyond grocery lists and to-do’s?
*Linking this to Blog-A-Rhythm’s #SnailMailChallenge.