To Pen a Letter.

The long bell rang, it 12.30 on a Saturday.  The school closed early. My brother and I would rush home, not only because we got longer play time, but because it was the day we got letters. From Ahalya-akka Ramchandra from wherever they were posted, from Rekha, from Vanamali, from ajja and dodda. Even if the letters arrived earlier in the week, we could get to read them only on Saturday. It was a peek into their world. Which was so different from ours.

there were postcards, inlands and envelopes to choose from. As I got older for a while I did pick up writing pad’s with matching envelopes, that was called the “Peddar Road culture.”

There were those small notes written during Sunanda teacher’s class, because we knew she would not catch us. but the big adventure was getting away with it in Dayanand Nayak’s class.

The love-letters penned by wannabe couples. I remember sada who used to make his classmate write the letters for him because sada had a very bad handwriting and still worse spelling.

Then there was that amazing exercise “letter to the editor.” It would be written to the editor some poor subeditor would read it, and if deemed worthy it would be published.

Slowly the letter was replaced by telephones, now we are all digital.

Times have changed, my mother has gone digital too. yet there is something about the written word.

When my patients come to me with emotional blocks one of the things that I ask them to do I make them do lot of letter writing. I do it too.

I make them list three of the most painful hurtful things that happened to them. Then I make them write a letter to the judge in their defence.  They say as they write the incident out, they are able to let it go from their system. It gives them a sense that their version is not only heard but it is also documented.

The next thing I do is make them write a letter to a person that has always supported them. It has to be a handwritten one, and they have to mail it. Usually I ask them to write a letter buy a greeting card, or gift, place the letter in it and send it by post. The result is amazing the person who supported them during their down time is so overwhelmed that the act of kindness was remembered. A new cycle of nurturing begins.

Most of my patients tell me, that it is more effective than a phone call or email because there is a time frame involved, it takes a minimum of a week for the card to reach the person. also the physical feel of the letter the card is so personal.  I remember one patient telling me that her grandfather was so thrilled because he could read the letter in balcony where he used play with her.

Finally is the greatest challenge of them all, I make them choose 5 postcards, and write letters/messages to five people with whom they have lost touch. This would take so much of effort right from picking appropriate cards, finding their postal addresses and then overcoming the block of being laughed at for sending this written message.

The handwritten letter reveals so much, like the personality of the writer, the mood in which the person is. The thought process, think of it we have no spell check and auto correct, so what is written has to either be erased or whitners have to be applied or just ruthlessly struck. The slant of the ‘e’ the loop of ‘g’ they all reveal something.

As for me, I do love writing, with paper and pen. For a while I would actually draw small graffiti and send in stories to my niece and nephew but I guess now some where I have let it go. May be it is a good time to pick up the paper and pen, oh! yes put in a self addressed envelope so that the person does not have to struggle too much to find an envelope and stamp to write a reply. That would kind of be fun.

Maybe that is an activity that I do during this lock down.

BTW  an old recycled post on letters.


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