Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Bills, credit card statements, low interest rate balance transfer offers and discount coupons for pizza, oil-changes and groceries. The typical american life features a dreary mailbox -little inspiration for trudging down and checking one's mail. Growing up, I was a big letter-writer, and reveled in writing long letters to friends, pen-friends & grandparents, either on those blue "inland letters" (or aerogrammes for international mail. :-)) or on fancy stationery. I remember all the tricks my pen-friend and I resorted to to smuggle coins in the mail, well concealed to prevent them from being flicked en route, so we could exchange currency of our respective countries. :-) The whole experience of letter writing was completed by picking out stamps to stick on them and dropping them off in the red post-box. I always awaited the postman eagerly, and was famous for hounding him on his route daily. "pacchis by aath ke liye kuch hai?" Often the postman saw me approaching him and would start fishing out the whole building's mail from his brown bag to give me. :-) The clerk at the local post office would regularly alert me to new stamps that had come in and I would excitedly use them, with a request to the receiver to send me back the stamp. :p Thanks to this craze of mine, my mother had to ensure that the postman was given a generous "bakshees" every year during diwali. :-)

I kept up some of my love for "real" mail after coming here. It was a bit of a shock when I first saw how the clerk at the post office here used a plain bar-coded sticker in place of actual postage stamps on my outgoing mail. Since then, I made it a point to ask for "nice stamps" on my mail. For a while, I continued writing letters or just sending photos and other snippets of my life here that could be sent by mail. Slowly, this hobby dwindled. Instant messaging, phone and email conveyed almost everything and did it faster than letters, but not necessarily as accurately. Trips to the post-office now became a chore- only undertaken when tax-deadlines loomed large. Letters became restricted to when someone was going to India and I could send a letter through them. My mailing activities were reduced to postcards while traveling and the annual rakhis, birthday cards and such. Even there, I was starting to get tardy. For someone to whom remembering birthdays came naturally, wishing someone on their birthday started to become a "to-do" item on my list. I'd be lucky enough to get my phone-call in on time, within any time-zone, let alone actually plan in advance and send something in the mail. I've never had a single sheet of stamps last me as long as they did over the past many months. Recently, I mailed a friend his birthday present, again, a couple weeks late. The whole act of going to the post-office and sending the package out perked me up, as I relived the joy it gave me. For a normally reticent guy, my friend's overwhelmed reaction and excitement at receiving his present, albeit late, was even more heartening. I am going to do more of this now, I was beginning to forget how much I enjoyed it.


Duhita said...

Shall I send you my address then?:D hehehehe

Anonymous said...

im in too!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

send, send!

yeah, one postcard going out, addressed to "anonymous, anonywhere". :-)

kunal said...

as a kid, I used to have an envious stamp-collection. now, I have no idea whether it even exists or not. I have no idea as to how much worth of stamps should I affix for any letter to reach my home... talk about any e-mail client, I can give you loads of information.
we sure have changed ...

Anonymous said...

you sound _so_ much like my ex-gf. it's eerie! maybe it is you. :)

Farhat said...

you sound _so_ much like me. It's eerie! maybe it is me. :P:P

I loved writing letters too, i so like the feel of pen and paper when writing (most of my blog posts are on the original notepad first and then on to the pc). The detailed letters in the mailbox felt so much better than the junk fwds in the inbox. The carefully picked out or even better the handmade b'day cards will always be the first things i pack when going away for a long time.
It used to be so much more difficult to keep in touch then, but the effort made you happier, wonderful days!!!!!

Rebellion said...

Lajjo jee, you know my address don't you? ;)

Even I love all this yaar! No doubts emails are much faster & convinient but that fancy for stationery, that excitement, waiting for the postman, it was fun yaar :) I still have at least 3-4 letter pads left and you won't believe, I still write on them for a friend, but just that I hand deliver it myself instead of posting it ;)

Btw, someone's missing you.. come online jaldiii, even I wanna talk to you :D Nothing to bother, tp :p

And please don't get senti & all haan, mujhe bhi faaltu ka senti mat karo!

Take care,

Born a Libran said...

I love writing letters but I am very lazy when it comes to actually posting it... I actually hardly ever posted the b'day cards I bought for others and that ensured the natural death of my letter writing activities...

The Smiling Girl said...

I know yaar.. feels like I am talking..
I miss those looong mails soo much.. U know, I once wrote a letter 36 pages long and sent it by post to a friend in US... :)
Wish I could do it more often.. tera address bhej.. :D

it wasn't me! said...

I experienced something similar yesterday as I was walking by a hand-made paper store... I spotted a fountain-pen (Ink-pens for the uninitiated). Growing up I used to write with them all the time and had also ruined many school-shirts due to ink-stains!

I couldn't resist so I purchased a fountain-pen for myself and am planning to re-start 'writing' paper-letters.

Sakshi said...

I am one of those regulars sending cards and packages to friends on Birthdays/ special occassion. THough I also love receiving letters from friends, the only person who keeps up with this activity is my Mom. I used to collect stamps as a kid but now the hobby has dwindled out.

shub said...

hey I love writing long long long letters too!

e-mail me your address I'll write to ya! say what?!

[hehe, that sounds so funny! email the postal address, and I'll send you a letter by mail =)) ]

When I read the title of this post "post", I thought you were talking about a blog post :D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi kunal!
yeah, i still have my stamp collection too! I brought it with me when I came here..it's ancient, tho!

er...if i am, then you need to leave right away. ex-boyfriends, even those resembling them, are banned on here. ;)

hi farhat!
lol! i think anony above is looking for you ;)
you really physically write out your posts first? awesome. i put pen to paper when i need to work out my thoughts...yes, there was something to that effort indeed.

:-) yeah..i like hand written letters. lagta hai terko mera address dena padega. ;)

yes , i have a few un-posted cards lying around too..ahh well..

thirty six pages??? one-sided or double? lol. ;) did your friend read it?? ;) hehhehe
bhej mereko. will send u my address.

it wasn't you!
"fountain pen"! haven't heard that phrase in ages. i want one too! perhaps I will also indulge...

that's nice re. and it's so nice that your mom writes to you. i am going to bug my mom now. :p

email the postal address, and I'll send you a letter by mail

awww so many offers of letters now. am very happy. :-))

Anonymous said...

laydeej. yeah, farhat madam and the chick from ipanema: please stop trying dump me on the other. one of you take me! i promise i'll make it worth your while! ;)

The Smiling Girl said...

Tera address to bhej re.. :D
Err.. about he reading that letter? Forget it.. :)
It was missed by US post.. :(

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

did you just say "chick" ? your chances just dropped from zero to negative ten.

damn!!! i don't believe the letter was lost in the mail! that is horrible!!!!

Tachyoson said...

i gave up after i stopped getting letters back from anyone ... i still have a shoebox full of letters from my Grecian penpal who vanished with bf on way to Crete

janehouse rock said...

i am a letter writing freak too from the dinosaur age! :D hi5! shud i say 'was'? hi5 again! :P i louuuuu stationary, it gets me high :) still have atleast 20 cool writing pads and paper from chimanlal and handmade stuff and cool ones too, but practically forgotten. i take them out every once in a while and contemplate using them to write to old pals, but then fold them back in neatly and preserve them again! no one receives/reads paper letters anymore x-(, leave alone writing them! send me your address though, maybe we can be pen pals :)))

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

aww. Grecian pen-pal? :o vanished? :o :o. With bf? makes sense. ;)

janehouse rocks,
you come up with some awesome names, i must add. ;)

CHIMANLALS!!!!! YOU HAD TO SAY THAT!!!! I louuuuuuuu-ed their stuff. Also stored some of it out of kanjoosi, that I'd never get them again...

***weeping buckets!***

i'm a janius said...


The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

ok sending right away. :-)

Di said...

arre u reminded me of my penpal-days..i had this friend for such a long time...but sadly somewhere down the line we lost touch.. :(

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

yeah, i miss my penpals too...

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