It was indeed with great surprise that I received a postal letter the other day after more years than I remember having received it. I was thrilled that I got the inland letter posted by a former colleague of mine to my old home address, a decade back!
As the custodian of the house kept the letter intact and handed it to me during my visit there, seeing the already ‘extinct species’ stirred memories that a long, long time ago it was the lifeline of our personal communication.
For a generation of mine or before, just mentioning the name post office, conjures up recollections of rooms abuzz with activities like the rat-a-tat of the telegram; the rhythmic drumbeat of rubber stamps; the smell of post-office glue and the dusty red post boxes in one corner, around which conversations would be struck and friendships re-forged.
The postal letters had a personal touch. Writing letters was an emotional experience since it was done with love, care, and warmth. It was the perfect opportunity to express feelings and emotions!
Without a doubt, one would admit that the old inland letters, postcards, and birthday greetings opened up a trove of memories. Stamped and postmarked, they have pursued us while moving from one town to another – whether it’s for studies or in search of a job or any other purposes!
Sadly, the generation today doesn’t like writing letters due to the advanced modes of communication. I remember using every inch of space on postcards or letters. A single reading of the narrative would seldom satisfy the receiver, and one would tend to read the post again and again.
I also remember my parents showing me letters that I had sent to them during my hostel life. My wife used to hold those letters I wrote to her during our early marriage years dear to her heart!
Leave alone the letters, the iconic red post boxes that stood splendidly at different hooks and corners of our places were once close to our hearts! Nothing feels more special than a handwritten letter!
Pathetically, the iconic postal service is slowly being relegated to the backyard, with each little advance in telecom and information technology.
In this era under the spell of the internet to sprint with the speed of 5G, along with smartphones and messaging apps, the ways of communication have seen a drastic change, especially over the last two decades with short telephonic or WhatsApp messages.
Many people have stopped taking the services of the post office and they feel that it is no longer needed. Over the decades, as the modes of communication evolved, we slowly moved from postcards, and inland letters, to phone calls, WhatsApp, emails, Instagram, video calls and an all-new version of ‘telegram’.
Now the letter is on my desk making me look back to wonder how the postal services which were once could rightly lay claim to being one of the largest, and most efficient, organisation acting as a surrogate for accepting and delivering business mail or parcels or imparting some other services in many parts of the world!
The era of e-mails and instant messages may have replaced the good old letter writing, but there is something more authentic and creative about someone pouring their heart on a crisp piece of paper. It is still a treat to receive a letter from our kith and kin. Letters are not merely about nostalgia, there’s a lot more to them!