Letters, I always had a fascination for letters. Written words caged in paper and sent on a mysterious journey. With its departure a constant worry takes birth will the receiver get the thought on his door posted. Free of time barrier and often late in earlier times. They have bewitched the world for time immemorial.
In school they were taught as formal and informal letters. One that required decorum and manners was Formal. They are restricting and I am against them. They are a mass scale conspiracy to run the bureaucratic whip on humans. The only letters ever penned by the pre-selfie generations were to their imaginary friends in their English Work Book and tests. I had many imaginary friends all named Nina. She never liked my letters hence I never got more than four out of ten when ever I was asked to write a my letter to a friend.
The fascination with letters began years before when landline was new luxury in our home. On one of those hot days when I rolled on floor at my grandpa’s room my eyes met them first. Accumulated blue postcard, envelops, yellow papers moth holed stacked together and hanged by a wire stabbing through them on my Grandfather’s door intrigued me. The blue paper dusted enough to crumble on edges to fade the ink in curious bangla script.
In general I claim to have no regrets and I stick by it. But the only regret that I have is, I have never read those letters. Collected over decades they are our personal chronicles. Rather my family’s voices where I was never part of. A distant history I never felt related to, a reality woven even before words broke on my mother's tongue. More letters are to be found in huge iron trunks under high beds of both my grandparents’ bed. Some dusted with vermilion, some marked with hot cup of tea un-sipped in 1989. Actions and realities beyond my vision.
Process of communication have changed, we have faster and cheaper means to communicate and I am totally depended on them. Yet I still carry the blood of letter writers. Though my mom never saw any romance in the idea of pen pal. I have always craved for one and I simply blame her and my grandparents for putting all those ‘Outdated ideas’ in my head. I have an general pull towards old books, unused things, old paper. A vintage setting for any conversation and sepia vision justifies me.
Often my reading list have books which are epistolary in nature or have good amount of letters in them. I love Pride and Prejudice for its epistolary elements, I keep rereading Cloud Atlas for the beautiful letters in them. Every other die hard lover of love stories know the spell P.S I Love You did on cry babies like us. The same author makes you weep in Where The Rainbow Ends as well with letters and letters.
We literature people have this intrinsic nature to read the personal letters of various authors. Our lacking in respecting the privacy has led us to churn out Negative Capability from Keat’s letter. Or to understand Kafka better when we read his unposted, rather undelivered letter to his Father. We have been shameless encroachers and we still do it offending so many dead poets and artist.
Again it was Anne Frank who made me copy her diary writing style. Letters to her friend Kitty made me find my own Kitty. Which I have been penning for last seven years. The very same reason why my every post in this blog ends with a- P.S. Both consciously and unconsciously I have been creating letters and posting them to intended people in my life metaphorically.
The first letter that I received in my twenty one year lifespan came in form of a postcard. Postcard, from a girl, who has been my dearest friend for last seventeen years. She has seen all my faces from the core. Shares an equal passion for horrible handwriting, no matter what, we could never master the art of beauty in holding pen. Too many these action of her seemed an ordinary matter. But to me that one post card meant an eternity.
A reality is already in creation, where many correspondences have happened. I can see her with too many annoying grand kids around her and she fawning over a letter marked by the fresh cup of tea. A letter from a friend, a letter from a friend who might have loved her a little bit more.
P.S- Still the reply remains undelivered, unposted, unwritten....
thanking you to bear with me