My Autobiography: The joy of receiving a hand-written Letter

One day during my sixth standard annual vacation, I was playing for the entire day (as usual) and came home in the evening. My mother told me that someone had sent me a letter by post. I was shocked. A letter?? for me???

Do you remember the blue-colour inland envelope letter with a printed stamp on it? That’s what I got. I saw the name of the person who sent it, and it was my bench-mate during the previous year. I did remember us discussing sending letters to each other during vacations (this was just one among so many other grand plans we made), but I never took it seriously.

He not only took it seriously, but also wrote a letter and sent it to me!!Β 

Frankly, that’s the only hand-written letter I ever received, but the joy I felt while being informed about the letter, while tearing it open, while reading every word written in it, is just unmatched. It’s impossible to explain it in words, I was in cloud 9!! πŸ™‚

Right on the next day, I bought an inland envelope, scribbled something and posted it to him. But there were no more letters from his side and the exchanging of letters stopped with just one. I went to a different school from the next year. One year later, when I bought a cycle, I went to his house. But they had already shifted their house from there!

Later on, when I was discussing about this with another friend, he told me about the concept of pen-friends. He told me that people from different states/different countries Β write letters to each other and become friends. I was enthralled by this very concept. But he did not know how to get pen-friends.

I went and pestered my parents. They asked me to read the ‘classified section’ of the news paper. Someone might advertise that they want pen-friends. I religiously glanced the classified section for a week, but no one advertised. I got bored and forgot about it!

In this age of instant e-mail & instant communications, I sometimes wonder what it would have felt like, to have lived two generations earlier. We might have exchanged many letters by post. Maybe I would write a blog post and send it to all of you by post. You would have sent me your comments, by post too! πŸ™‚

Have you received any hand-written letters by post?

Destination Infinity

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28 Replies to “My Autobiography: The joy of receiving a hand-written Letter”

  1. Yes, it is nice to read letters in handwriting. I used to write to my son who went abroad after he finished 12th here. He got very good scholarship from a very good university and we had to send him. But I was always worried…he was still a child for me and so, to cheer him up, I started writing to him every week. This was nearly 16 years back. Satellite TV was new yet. So he was not exposed to the outer world much and computer was still new. I was writing 13-14 page letters with full of news, political, general, family, everything. Then used to write jokes from Readers’ Digest on all the corners of the letter. Add some good pictures/paper cuttings from India Today or Vikatan or Junior Vikatan. I still remember sending Amma’s adopted son’s wedding picutures to him (India Today’s). After copying the digest jokes I used to tick them! I still have got many copies of digests. Now, it is not that good, so stopped buying. I used to go to the post office, weigh it and send it. It used to take 4-5 days to reach him, if I remember correctly. This went on for 3-4 years, I think. Then computer yug started! It was not the same for a long time. Now, I am used to this media.

    He used to reply once a month or so. I still have got them!

    Even now, you can send greetings with handwritten messages. I do it sometimes!

    Good topic. I replied like it is my post…long comment, as usual!

    1. Writing 13-14 page letters, should have taken a long time? I guess you should have sent them once in a month. I guess these letters would have been helpful to overcome home-sickness. At that age, had I stayed away from home, I would have become home-sick!! It’s good to know that you have preserved those letters. I wish I had preserved the only letter I got! I am sure it would be a great feel to look at them again, sometime πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

      1. I thought he would be home-sick to leave home at a tender age. We were not exposed to the US like we are now via TV. He was the first one to go abroad in our family. I must ask him if he has preserved my letters! I missed him a lot, so it was not boring to write to him. I was translating from Vikatan and Bhagya (Bhagyaraj’s weekly magazine) which had many science based series. I don’t if it is coming now. It was good in those days.

  2. Oh yeah, nothing can beat the joy of receiving and writing a letter. When in school, I had 2 pen pals… one from Australia and the other one from USA. I remember writing 4-5 page letters to them and they also used to do the same. I remember finding about these 2 pen pals from a English children’s magazine at the school library. Then we used to share letters with our friends when we passed out from school and went to different colleges. And I have exchanged a lot of letters with a cousin too.
    My husband and I have written a lot of letters and exchanged a lot of greeting cards too during our courtship period. I have all of his letters and cards and a few of mine at home and it is fun to read them from time to time… I think it is ritual for me to read them every year when I am doing the Diwali cleaning! πŸ˜€
    And now we are back to writing and receiving letters as Aaryan is in a Boarding school and it is mandatory for them to write letters every Monday! πŸ™‚

  3. If it’s any comfort to you – I still right hand-written letters to various people. You may think this is strange or a little weird, considering we have email, mobile and now skype – but why would I continue to do this?

    Well, its very simple – and it’s what you blog post is all about – personal touch. This all came about during my years at boarding school. We were encouraged to hand-write all the time, despite having laptops and access to emails. I’m an old-school type of guy – at the age of 28 you would imagine I wouldn’t have it in to write a ‘personal hand-written’ letter or note to someone – but I do.

    I prefer writing the letters in a traditional ink pen or what is more formally known as fountain pens, and those who receive hand letters from me do surely enjoy the feeling and personal touch. Plus the very least it enables me to maintain my hand-writing style.

    I can send you a hand written letter should you wish…

    1. Your hand-writing should have been good, then. Mine is pathetic – Thanks to fonts and typography online, no one knows it πŸ™‚ That’s one good reason why I prefer blogs over hand-written letters!

      Destination Infinity

  4. Even I had one friend like that in 8th standard.He got transferred to other place & I was a new entrant in class 7th. Still, I was the only one whom he wrote that letter. It was really amazing feeling to get your first hand written letter. However, I regret that I didn’t replied him back – I was a meek person & didn’t had any idea how to write to him.So I left it. Still regret that. Though, with FB I again found him & we talked at length. Even he didn’t mind that incident. πŸ˜›
    I think that event was also responsible for me writing a blog. I had to write my thoughts to someone & with Internet age, it was hard to only write letters when you can easily call. πŸ™‚
    Polite Saint

    1. I wonder if my friend will recognize me after all these years! Since I remember him, he might remember me as well. If I meet him in FB, I would definitely want to ask if he got my reply or not. And if he still has the letter πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  5. Oh the joy if receiving post is undescribable. Pen friends ad comes in young world back then, and I had 2 such pen friends- one from ads and another my old school friend who relocated. That’s when I started cultivating the habit of writing..

    1. Pen-friends ad came in young world is it? I guess I didn’t notice it back then or I did not read it much! Good to know that you had pen-friends.

      Destination Infinity

  6. I’ve been writing letters for a long time now and still actively do. I initiated something in CBC where we write letters to one another and the initiative is growing in numbers by the day.

    Do send your address to me and I’ll write a note to you.

    Joy always,
    Susan

    1. Of course I know about the CBC letter-writing initiative. I didn’t participate because receiving hand-written letters is no longer as exciting as it once used to be, for me! It’s good to know that some people have retained their fascination for this concept πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  7. Goodness! I had nearly forgotten about the concept of “pen-friends”! πŸ™‚ The concept seems so alien now in the face of new gen technology and instant communication, isn’t it?

  8. Where is the ‘like’ button for this post, DI? I do remember the blue inland covers πŸ™‚ Infact I must check my old files, am sure I have a letter from each of my grandmothers. Definitely, a piece of treasure now πŸ™‚

    1. Good to know that you have preserved some of the letters. I lost the only one I got! Do read those letters sometime, perhaps once every year πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  9. I was an avid letter writer! I think I am older than most of you here! Used to write reams and reams, all before the advent of email. Had several pen friends from different countries. Despite growing up with this type of letter writing into my thirties, somehow I do not really miss the old style because now I can write more and faster and to more people! πŸ™‚ I used to get many complaints that I did not reply to so and so! I used to be so busy, there was a limit to how many people you could write to. It wasn’t just writing, it was the posting thing too. One had to walk to the post box to post it and at times one would forget to post it on the way to the market or something.
    I have a trunk full of letters and I guess I need to get rid of them. I wonder why I do not feel sentimental about letters. I think I should somehow, but I don’t . Just thankful for electronic letters!

    1. Interesting perspective. I thought people might not value anything in electronic format, but I guess that is a wrong assumption. Thinking on similar lines, I am also happy for being able to blog. This medium makes it easy to publish our writing, get feedback and instantly connect with people across the world.

      Good to know that you had many pen-friends. I can guess how much efforts writing and posting each letter would have involved. Kudos to you! πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  10. Oh! I so love the concept. I had pen friends in shcool through Gokulam – have you read the magazine? there si a whole section there! Used ot be atleast.

    also, I used to write to people who posted on Tinkle comics πŸ™‚ Some replied, some didn’t. I gave the post office a lot of business. My last letter was to a friend in Sri Lanka a year back. I still write letters, just that, I don’t get to post them as often. And people write to my India address, for obvious reasons πŸ™‚

    1. I was a fan of Tinkle back then, but I do remember reading a few issues of Gokulam as well. Strangely, I did not notice the pen-pal ads in these magazines! It’s good to know that a few of us have had active pen-pal communications! πŸ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  11. My cousin and I would exchange inland letters those days. It was so nice to see his handwriting on the paper. It was really fun. I also used to exchange letters with some of my old friends for a very long time. After that we lost touch. I think I still have all those letters with me. Need to search for them.

  12. oh your post made me feel old!! I have received and sent many handwritten letters to my pen friend (lost touch later), my sister when she went to hostel and my friends when I went to hostel

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