Want to tell someone how you care? Then write a letter today.
Remember the days when one eagerly awaited the arrival of the postman, especially during the festivals so that one could lay hands on those lovely greetings or more importantly, the letter containing a message of goodwill? This, of late, is becoming more of a dream rather than a reality. Most of us, living in the cyber-age, prefer to either dash off a quick SMS or send one of those billion e-greetings to our pals.
The art of letter writing as most of us know it is dying. All that the postman delivers to our houses these days are the magazines that we subscribe to or the annual reports of companies. Let us not forget the annual rakhi that sisters keep sending with a couple of lines passed off for a letter. And we do not reply either.
“You’ve got mail” would make most of us rush to the computers or laptops and to our inboxes.
Surendra Shetty, a sales representative says, “As a student and the only ‘literate’ person in my village, I recollect the days when I used to read letters received by my neighbours and pen a reply on their behalf.”
All this has changed of late. Now people either communicate over the phone in villages or through e-mail or SMS in the cities. Letters are used sparingly by people who live in far-flung areas without modern means of communication.
Interestingly, if one reflects on our school days in the late 70s or the early 80s, letter writing was an integral part of academics.
Examination papers invariably contained a question on writing a letter to our parents, friends and on a wide range of topics. Teachers took a lot of time to teach students about the format in which letters had to be written and it was quite a task mastering all the ‘From’ and ‘To’ and so on.
India Post, known as Department of Posts then, used to organise quite a few competitions for students to revive the lost art of letter writing some years back. But, if one looks at the present scenario, even they seemed to have accepted reality and there does not seem to be much of an effort to promote this activity.
If the price of an inland letter or a post card went up in the annual Budget, it used to raise a hue and cry. Now it is almost a non-entity.
However, it is not to suggest that the tribe of letter writers is almost extinct.
People still faithfully utilise the last possible centimetre of space in those ubiquitous post cards to convey the message to their near and dear ones.
But today we still prefer to pick up the receiver and pass on the message rather than sit down and pen a letter. After all communicating is more important rather than the means, isn’t it?