September 30, 2015

The Enthusiasm of Communicating through Letters!

free images from Google

I was reading Vidya sury’s post on thousands words worth picture While reading through the post so many thoughts filled my mind and I for a brief while I went backwards, taking a reverse gear remembering all the lovable and memorable moments and excitements of waiting for the postman week after week, reading letters coming from my friends, uncle and also cousins. 

I loved receiving letters and I used to collect letters and keep it safe in a file; and whenever I felt like reading I would just pick it up and went into another world with the writer, happily listening to the conversation.

I have memory of my elder sister who joined the convent, writing beautiful inland letters for us; from Dharward, a novitiate, a place where the young girls are trained to become nuns. Where she was a novice – it was a pleasure for my dad to read her letter, which was written in tamil,  while all of us sat and heard what she wrote…. My mom kept all her letters safely in a trunk for a very long time; and after her death the letters became all the more precious as my mom used to see them and cry…. I held those letters written in ink for some time, as I got it after my mother’s death… some of her articles like her specs, hymn book and a few sarees was given to me. Then I found those letters becoming soft and because of the folds tearing into pieces…and then I let go of it…

Then I also recall some very great conversations with one of my cousin brother; who that time was posted to Gujarat from Pune on work and was very friendly and sweet. His letters were mostly in Tamil, and I loved the language as Tamil was my first language in school. I knew to read as well as write Tamil and his letters were full of love, affection and affirmation a brother can express to his sister. In between he will mix Hindi and I did enjoy mixing languages and writing, some times even quotes and songs that expressed caring nature of a brother (even the rakhi songs).  I remember sending a small rakhi in the envelope for him and waiting eagerly to his acknowledgement and to hear from him.

Now when I think about it; I feel funny and crazy for being so passionate in penning every thought to this brother; and yes also happy because now I realize that I had a person on the other end who listened to all my silly stories and still loved and accepted me unconditionally. Gradually I lost touch and we moved on in our lives.  Last year I got opportunity to go to pune and I ensured that I met him and started reconnecting once again, and felt so happy.
one of the condolence letter from a friend
 Similarly I had an uncle in Riyadh, a mechanical engineer, who was very fond of me and always affirmed me for every small thing I did, whether I read the bible in the church, started prayers or sang – he used to always appreciate me.  He was also a distant relative of our family from my father’s side. One fine day he met me in the church and told me that he got an assignment in Riyadh and he would be away for a couple of years. He had three sons an one daughter and he considered me his eldest daughter and made a request that I should keep in touch with his family, as he is away and guide his children as they were all very much younger to me.
A special card from a good friend

I took this up seriously and started visiting his house every week and there it was I was getting every fortnight one letter from him, as he used to call his house and his wife (my aunt) and his children would tell him of my visits. Every letter was filled with thanksgiving of how much it meant for him that I visit his house and pray in his house;  the letters were very neatly written in a cursive handwriting and I still remember the colour of the paper, it wa a bright yellow and written in black ink.  It looked like that he had some very special letter pads (which was very popular – I remember stocking letter pads with various designs and smiley’s etc to write letters.
A thank you note from group of friends
I also remember receiving a few letter pads as gifts on my birthdays as most of my friends appreciated my letters to them and they knew that I would love to have it. So with the latest design and stock of letter pads I used to write everything about myself, his family, the church and the activities going on in the community and also what the lunch I had in house, birthdays I attended of his children and also some lovely bible quotations as affirmations.

I remember when I was in school I used to copy a pen pal addresses from the small magazine called “Teenager” which was a monthly small booklet for youngsters, and few more magazines that  used to carry addresses of  persons interested in pen pals.

What I dreaded the most was the telegram, which used to come in a line or two, and mostly telegrams communicated serious messages of illness, death and in very few occasions it would be surprise birthday and anniversary wishes.

Letters have always been part of my life and I realize now how much I have lost out on writing; now I do write emails, but no more handwritten letters…. I used to have a good stock of thank you cards and get well cards, which I also used to post along with the long letters I wrote. These were simple joys in life…. the communication was from the heart, ensuring that what is written is not hurting the person and there was so much love, concern and care in our expressions, as  I used to write to persons who are far away from home and from their loved ones. Always thoughtful that they are supported enough to be able to carry on their responsibilities assuring them of my prayers, love and care. The response was beautiful letters filled with acknowledgements, appreciations and blessings.

I did receive a couple of very thoughtful letters from two of my friends; after the death of my son, it was a condolence letter, written neatly on a white sheet of paper, expressing their sadness and also comforting me …. I loved reading them and have kept it safe… found one in my cupboard.  Also found a thank you card that I received from my previous office I worked; where all my colleagues have written stating how much I mean to them… there are a lot more cards special cards which I have kept safely.  Unfortunately I have not kept all  my letters.. but they are all their in my mind, a soft copy (memory) which can never be destroyed; which has a high recall value.

"A letter is a blessing, a great and all-too-rare privilege that can turn a private moment into an exalted experience”. Alexandra Stoddard.


  1. what a lovely post Genevive thank you for sharing it! I too keep all my letters from times past and it is always a joy to read them. From my parents, my sister, my sons when they were at school, all their hand drawn birthday cards and so on ...I have a few boxes of very lovely cards and envelopes which I use for birthday or other greetings and this too is a pleasure to write in them to a special person.

    1. Thanks Susan, its always a beautiful feeling to connect with you and I am so glad that you have a similar sentiments towards letters and cards.... I feel bad that I have lost so many of them in as I moved from my house to my in laws place and after wards so much has happened in life that I almost lost track... but nobody can rob from our memories ... some of the letters I just have to close my eyes and I can see the way it was written, the colour, the texture and the words that was so loving, affectionate and full of care and concern.... thank God the persons are alive and meeting them is such joy.. now those memories have become so precious... I love to create that with David, who is so very different from me... that learnt that it just doesn't work with some persons.... but yes my daughter Dorothy is inclined towards writing, and I have preserved some very sentimental letters which has written in anger; when my son was alive.. I could n't give her much time.... so those letters I have responded but she is too young at that time... some day she will find it in my files...


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