Tell me you love my words, and I know you love me

Tell me you love my words, and I know you love me..!

The post card, below is from my friend and senior colleague, Prof Laxmi Narayan Verma in Bhopal, an electrical engineer by qualification. He desists using electronic media for communication. He loves to communicate with his dear ones, through post cards. The only post card that we receive at our door is from Prof Verma, which is once in a quarter. It is a mere joy and delight for the entire family. His letters are relatable, inspirational and in beautiful handwriting. I have fallen in love with the choice of his words. The post cards from Prof Verma, mostly take three weeks or more to complete its journey from Bhopal to Mumbai.

I have another post card of 1943, courtesy, my cousin Pradeep Mehta. This post card was written by my grandfather to his younger son (my uncle), discussing Diwali vacation program. This letter was posted at Udaipur on 19 Oct 1943 and reached Delhi on 21 Oct 1943. Sounds fictional?

In today’s world of e-mail and overnight express mail service, the idea of a letter taking three weeks to travel from Bhopal to Mumbai seems almost comical. However, in the mid-1700s, during the times of Maharana Pratap and Emperor Akbar, a messenger with letter use to take as long as eleven days to make the 800 km trip between the two cities, Delhi and Chittorgarh. However, around 200 BC, during Chandragupta Maurya’s times, the messenger pigeons from Patliputra use to reach Taxila nearly 1500 kms, in just about 3-5 days.

Until a few decades ago, the iconic yellow post cards and blue inland letters were the only modes of communication. Post cards and inland letters are still on sale across post office counters, but their numbers have drastically declined as digital communication has soared. How much does a Post Card cost today?

The first recorded handwritten letter (epistle) was by Persian Queen Atossa around 500 BC. The stamped letter we know today came into being in the reign of Queen Victoria in 1840. Before this date letters did not have stamps or envelopes and the receiver of the letter had to pay on its receipt.

I first met Prof Verma around 2000, when he was invited to join the band wagon of Pooran Chugani and self for Training of Trainers and Assessors in Mumbai. He is now +83 and yet active as content developer and assessment consultant. He was consultant to the government of Mauritius on vocational training and later to UNESCO. Today he is engaged in big training project for a large corporate house of India. He is head and shoulders above all of us, as far as technical trainer’s training is concerned.

Writing comes easy to some, but not for many. It is a task that is usually considered as a hassle and people seem to develop a hatred for it after a few failed write ups. Nowadays we rarely pick up a pen and paper to communicate with one another, but it might not be wise for us to trade this long-standing, cultural practice entirely for the convenience of text messages and emails.

The act of writing by hand can promote quite a few physical and mental benefits, from improving learning abilities to fostering a more positive outlook on life. And when it comes to writing that is used as a form of communication between two people, namely letters and postcards, the impact of such messages lasts far longer than any alternative version offered in our high-tech world. From the careful intentions of the sender to the value experienced by the receiver, no true match exists for this old-time, traditional means of conversation.

Postcards only offers just a few square inches, forcing the sender to truly think about the message they want to share and how they want to phrase it. Unlike with a quick text or Facebook message, you only have one chance when you send a handwritten message, so you learn just how important it is not to let it go to waste.

Long after they were written and sent (and even after their senders and receivers are gone), letters and postcards remain to be read, appreciated and preserved. Whether displayed on museum shelves honouring famous historical figures or saved in a scrapbook between two old friends, letters protect the memories of lives lived in a way that technological communication cannot. They are tangible, personal and real, in every sense of the word.

But do we ever think about what we are losing? By forgetting about the art of letter writing, I think we’re missing out. Hugely.

Let’s begin the letter writing revolution! Who’s on board?






6 thoughts on “Tell me you love my words, and I know you love me

  1. Good morning Sir!! Very well describe art of writing and their importance. It took me back to my childhood when i used to write letter to my Nana & Nani ji. I still love writing letters, sad part is now I wont post them..its for my collection :(…But I got inspired back with your thoughts so thinking of writing letter to my little kids at home hope they will also have good memories like me of letter writing.. 🙂

    1. Thanks Nimisha for sharing your experiences. We still write letters but in electronic format and mostly they are to the point in slang and shortened word format. We can edit, alter and add.. which was not possible earlier. hence one had to muster his thoughts and emotions to pen correctly.

  2. Beautifully you explained about the importance of letter writing sir and thank you for sharing this message surely this one should reach to everyone sir then only we can bring back our lost art of writing and olden mode of communication.

  3. Beautifully written Pratapji! You have covered the history of letter-writing very comprehensively and it makes a very interesting read. And you are so right that with the advance in technology and communication, we have very sadly almost lost this art of letter-writing.

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