Remember the excitement of a letter you have been eagerly awaiting for days, weeks and months delivered by your local postman on his cycle and sometimes he would walk miles to reach your place and hand you the letter with a smile on his face. The first touch of the letter, the distinct smell of the envelope, the thrill of ripping it open to find your much awaited letter written by your loved ones. Almost every house had a letter box at the entrance which was the most important thing and the number of times it was checked, rattled to see if there was a letter is a memory today. Now we hardly see the familiar red post box at the street corner and letter boxes are a thing of the past.
For me letters were a personal communication between two people, the effort taken to sit down and write with an ink pen, the bottle of ink by the side, the perfect handwriting and sometimes the scribble which would be difficult to decipher yet the thrill of holding a letter for many was the most precious possession. It was treasured to be re-read again and again especially if it was a love letter and then tucked away in a box to be treasured for like…
Letter -writing in old days was an art and talent we had special people whose only job was to write letter for others which can be seen in old black and white movies and those nostalgic songs…”phool tumhe bheja hai khaat mai…phool nahin mera dil hai” and “dakiya daak laya…dakiya daak laya…khushi ka sandesha laya kahin dardanak laya… which when heard today bring back nostalgic memories of the days gone by and make many teary eyed. Another thing connected with letter writing were the collection of colorful post cards, and stamps, my love for stamps began with receiving letters from abroad through “air-mail” with colourful stamps of various countries which we would remove carefully and make a stamp album. Another memory is licking the sides of the envelope to close the envelope and many would prefer it to glue… such were the memories of good old days of letter -writing.
Then suddenly with a blink of an eye, letters stopped coming, trips to post offices to post a letter lessened and soon disappeared and the sight of the familiar postman faded away… he was missed for a few days, months and soon the postman and his cycle and tinkle of the bell were replaced by a click of a button and a pop up message. Why has the tradition of letter -writing stopped to be replaced by emails, messages and phone calls. One of the reasons is that in today’s busy world letter writing has been taken over by computers, mobile phones where messages are conveyed in seconds with a click of a button. Every household has a computer, mobile phones are a must for all and people now don’t have to wait for months, days, hours for a reply they get a reply instantly faster than “maggi noodles”
People have become so comfortable with this new modern technology which has made them lazy to sit down and write when they can do the same job in seconds through What’s app and other devices on their phones free of cost. The art of letter-writing is slowly and surely fading away into oblivion and the smell of an inland letter which has travelled through so many countries, states, villages etc , the feel of the paper in one’s hand, that personal touch has been taken over in a blink of an eye by internet, phones, whatsapp, messenger etc.
Though technology has taken over the means of traditional communication, receiving a letter with a personal touch is something we will continue to miss lifelong… tradition of letter-writing may have died for many but I am sure there are still many old-fashioned people who are still waiting to hear the tinkle of the postman’s bell, sound of a letter being dropped in a letter box…and long to see their familiar friend the red post box at the corner of the street.

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