Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The lost art of writing letters

Festive season was here. The city was sparkling and glowing with lights, lamps and candles. Every nook and corner was brimmed with festive atmosphere. The exchange of pleasantries, packing the goody bags for special someone, the sweets and cakes on stores were the highlight. To top it all the events and soirees were pretty much a delight and icing on the cake. The decorations and organizing games took a front seat and not a single life felt isolated and withdrawn. The city was admired for the energy and joie de vivre. 

In the midst of all this, one tends to feel the height of glory and one always gets charged up.  I too felt the tidal wave of varying mixed emotions in my heart and felt the need to express my gratitude to my set of loved ones. So at the end of the day when the year 2016 was on the verge of getting to the point of shutting down its curtain, I ended up writing letters. In the days of social media, a letter may seem obsolete, trash and outdated to many but I can never get rid of the old charm that only a letter offers.

A letter is like opening the eyes of our heart and showing its true essence and nature with a personalized touch. In a world of communication where technology is a breakthrough and has opened up so many doors that a person doesn’t feel distant to their loved ones anymore, letters take a backseat and often seen as a backward means of channeling your thoughts and ideas to the opposite person. But I felt it is the lost art which is worth bringing back. Therefore I wrote. Firstly, it thrilled me to a great extent.

 The prospect of sharing those ideas by bringing it to the pen gave me a joy that knew no bounds. The ink when touches the paper, those scribbling and overwriting few words, making a subtle nuances to the alphabets was unparalleled to the pressing of alphabets in the keyboard or pressing the send key in the messenger.

Going back to literature, letters hold a significant or rather coveted position in bringing two lovers together. A person’s rejection or acceptance depends on the manner in which the letter has been written. Letters were a common literary vehicle used to correspond. Many of the literary works include letter writing as a personal favorite. For example, In Austen’s Emma, the iconic work of the author, when Harriet smith comes running with a letter from Mr. Martin, Emma Woodhouse quickly asks her how great the letter is, and how is the length of the letter. The relationship formed through letters, it was held together through letters and lasted because of those letters.

I would like to quote the piece in New York times which is written by Catherine Field :
“A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window on the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savor their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping.

Following to the above passage, creativity lured in the corners of letters. A good letter was a blue print of an investment of good stationery, pretty piece of paper, and beautiful supplies.

The wait of receiving a letter was always a comfort giving, breathtaking and curiousity driven. There was a rush in our heart and minds when we saw the letters in mailbox. One waited to get back home and read those. The great excitement and thrill were the elements that letters brought out within us. The handwritten words and pictures meant a lot. Often the person’s state of mind was visible through their well- organized words, writings, and striking of a sentence.

In all the BBC period dramas and stories, I have often seen letters prove a great deal. The entire day was spent in answering them with detail, precise, and to the point. There was no way a letter was acceptable when it posed ambiguity, lack of clarity and short in means of length. Women would wait for a proper hour to let themselves alone to read the letters. Also the great power that a well handwritten has is remarkable. Think about the letter of proposal that transpired between Elizabeth and Darcy. It had a power that affected two lives dearly.  When we look back, there was a separate genre for letters in novels. Epistolary indeed! It was wholly engaged in writing a piece of work using letters as a central ideas. To name few of those kind which were exceedingly successful were Bridget Jone’s Diary, Letters to Juliet, The Princess Diaries, The Perks of being a wallflower and Last Days of Summer.

Growing up, I have often seen people write letters in special occasions. We have experienced the joy and anxiety too as our family used to receive letters to the distant cousins and relatives. It talked of happiness, good tidings and good health. Even the marriage preparations were discussed. So ours was an era where letters lived and relished in the comfort of human hands which generation next could hardly get a taste of.

Not only this vintage communication connected war separated lovers, or used for deliver news but every beats of life were unabashedly discussed. Therein, approbation and comfort were sought in one another.

The increasing speed of technology rings a death knell to the sweet sounding literature. They are drifting away slowly from our lives. Today, social media have taken correspondence by storm but not to forget that in this gust of storm, letters serve as a fresh whiff of air coming through a narrow channel called heart.