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My forgotten skill

My forgotten skill
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First Published: Fri, Jul 22 2011. 08 18 PM IST

RSVP: No postage required. Photographs by Thinkstock
RSVP: No postage required. Photographs by Thinkstock
Updated: Fri, Jul 22 2011. 08 18 PM IST
Now that I’ve moved from Delhi to Bangalore, I’ve started receiving lovely letters from some of my girlfriends. Yes they pop up in my email inbox, but they are written as beautifully as the best letters I’ve ever received. So we’ll call them letters.
I haven’t replied.
RSVP: No postage required. Photographs by Thinkstock
Now I know I’m not the only one who has stopped handwriting letters. Most post offices around the world are in terminal decline. Those in your backyard are employing all kinds of creative tactics to stay afloat. In one outpost in Mylapore, The Times of India reported, postal employees dispatched 500,000 hall tickets for candidates appearing in a government exam. If you spot a Bangalore resident at a post office, he/she is more likely there to register themselves for a Unique Identification Number than to bid adieu to a handcrafted letter. Last year many of our post offices even started selling gold coins.
Post offices may be dying, but the art of letter writing isn’t. Email is the best thing that ever happened to letter writing. No more waiting every day at 3pm for the postman to show up, no more “getting lost in the mail” phenomenon, no more bank-holiday-related delays, and who said emails can’t make you cry? I will never forget the one I got from a Twitter friend I had met only once where she dispassionately detailed a personal tragedy that changed her forever—and then shared how she recovered from it. She was my soul sister from that moment on.
There’s also email’s instant reply advantage. Except when you don’t reply.
I used to be great at writing letters, especially when I was in love or feeling lonely. When I left home for the first time to study in the US, news spread faster than email that I was missing home and I began receiving at least three-four letters a day. I replied to every one of them (who knows what I even said!). I met the man I finally married online too. Our now dozen-year-old relationship was built email-by-email. Yet nowadays, most of my replies read like this: “God I miss you too. So much. Will write a longer email in a couple of days. Love you.” And then I pray they will continue to be my friends.
I blame my inability to sit down and write someone an equally lovely/loving reply on my new motherhood. If I’m honest, I know this illness has been around longer than Babyjaan. The husband is not impressed. Occasionally, he even steps in to reply to the email for me. While I continue to compose half-responses in my head. Ever felt this way?
Write to me at lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Jul 22 2011. 08 18 PM IST
More Topics: First Cut | Priya Ramani | Letter | Email | Twitter |