Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Chitthi aii hai
On monday, USPS declared the delays in the delivery of the first-class mail, reduction of work force and closing a few post offices. The news saddened me deeply. Not only was I used to rely on the USPS for some last minute mailings, (which,by the way, had an amazing delivery time. Sometimes, they would be recieved the next day itself!) but also to send ' rakhis' to India, which again had a speed record of 4 days at the max, unlike the internet placed orders. I always had the convenience of posting, At my ease, as there's an USPS office every 3-4 miles or so. Not that I am not a proponent of internet and would no way, go back to stay without it. But nothing can beat the warmth of opening those envelopes and feeling the creases of the hand-written paper with your fingers!
I wrote my first ever letter, when I was 4, to my brother who was staying with our amma(grandma) then. Though, the letter was dictated, in hindi, by my dad, I very well remember that watching him write one, I had brought one of those blue coloured, pre-stamped envelopes(does anybody recall them?) and insisted that even I want to write one. On being asked, what, I had no clue! Still I was adamant. All I knew that they have to start with 'priy'/dear as that's what all the amma's letters to my dad used to start with, while tauji's (papa's elder brother) were in English, mostly where amma's ended. Sometimes, there would be those yellow postcards, when they wrote separately, i guess.
The love affair with the letters grew when my dad got transferred, and having formed a strong bond with my friends in those tween/teen years, we promised to stay in touch with each other through letters. How we used to decorate them with stickers, drawings and different colour pens! NG,TR,SK,J, MS, RS - do you remember that time. I still remember, how excited
I used to be to recieve them! As the pressure of studies grew, they became few and far between and graduaally were reduced to none. I had saved almost all of them despite so many moves we did!
The highlight in our household, something, which each and every member cherished and looked forward to were the epic letters from my eldest brother. He was in hostel, then, pursuing the engineering course and made it a point to address each one of us in his letters. To mom and dad, they were a sign of his well being and good health. I, still remember, how anxious they used to get, if the letters were delayed by a week or if, in his letters, he would hint of a slightest temperature or a brief bout of diarrhea that he would ave just gone through! To us, his letters were inspirations, they acted as a guide to us, full of his experiences, his advices. We were the little ones at home; he was the revered one, out in the world. We saw the world with his eyes, in those well-crafted dextly written Missives.
To be continued..