Writing letters is a challenge…. or is it? Not for me, it never has been. When I have something to say it just flows out of me naturally (at least it has, so far), unless of course it is a formal one, in which case you may find me pulling out tufts of hair in despair. I know a lot of people, too many in fact, who find things the other way around. They are all for writing official letters that they even send you dry official sounding letters in place of personal ones, what in my book is referred to as a ‘weather report’: All fine here. We are having a hot spell. How is everything? Did you have rains? You know the sort of thing I am talking about. How boring. *Yawn*
In bygone days, I was a letter writer par excellence. When you stay in the hostel, letters are what keep your spirits high, that is apart from the food packets that are sent from home. I hit upon a simple truth quite early on. To receive letters one had to write them first, unless they were from love lorn suitors. They of course wrote to you whether you replied to them or not. Once I had the ‘good’ fortune to get one such letter whose sender did not reveal himself. You can guess the flutter that caused in a 15 year old. How maddening to receive a letter strewn with ‘how beautiful your hair looked’ ‘what a lovely smile,’ and ‘how your eyes twinkled’ and not know the sender’s identity! Another followed, then another, and the mystery still remained unsolved. It took the fourth letter for the teenage Miss Marple to pick an inadvertently left clue and home in on the culprit and …..promptly lose all interest, and drop the matter pronto. So disappointing, eh?
So, as I was saying, I spent a lot of time writing letters as a teenager. How? I had lots of pen-pals. In fact I feel I kept in touch with the many pen-pals only so that I could get as many letters as possible. It is one of my pen-pals who started me off on Wodehouse. I can never thank him enough for the good deed he did all those years ago. I still remain a die-hard fan of the one and only PGW. All this meant that I was the envy of others. “Omg, this girl gets letters daily!” I remember smugly expounding my theory to such as them, ‘To get letters you gotta write them’! I am glad they did not bang the fattest library book with a hardcover down on my head then and there. Phew. Narrow escape, I say.
Anyway all that letter-writing stood me in good stead in later years when the L & M entered my life. An infantry man has forever to stay separated from his family. With no mobile phones or internet in those ancient times, our only means of staying in touch was letters. We had a letter a day, policy. The postman was our most favorite person; no one was awaited as much as him. Wherever I have stayed, after a few months of daily dropping in, the postmen were the ones downcast if they did not have a letter to deliver. They’d tell me almost apologetically, ‘No letter today, Ma’am” I guess it must have been the same for the L & M. I can just imagine the sahayak telling him, “Aaaj chitti nahi hai, Saahib.” But then our postal system being what it is, there were days when 3 or 4 letters would arrive together. Bonanza time! Imagine the daily letters going on for years and years together. We ended up with a trunk full of letters which we carted from place to place, whenever we moved, and which we finally and ceremoniously burnt a couple of years back, now that we are staying together at one place.
I have not written a decent letter worth its name in recent times. Like I told someone recently, I doubt I have the ability to communicate so well any more, though the blog page does take care of that to some extent. Well, I wouldn’t know unless I try, would I? So all this rambling about letters ultimately leads to the fact that I (along with Count Bawa) have taken up a month long challenge of writing letters. So from tomorrow on-wards I will be following the list on the 30 DAY LETTER CHALLENGE page, and writing one letter per day to each of those mentioned. It goes without saying that it is going to be all fictional, dished out from the ample and fertile imagination I have. Just in case you recognize yourself in it, by God, it could indeed be addressed to you! But don’t get your hopes too high on that count only to have it dashed. I like fiction much better than fact. 😉
So here’s to 30 days of letter-writing, starting from tomorrow.
Updated on 01/08/2014
I am taking a leaf out of my Bro’s page (this challenge is all thanks to him, anyways) and updating this post to add the list for the 30 Day Letter Challenge. Individual posts will be linked here as and when they are written.
2. Your Crush
3. Your parents
4 . Your sibling (or closest relative)
5 . Your dreams
6. A stranger
7. Your Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush
8. Your favorite internet friend
9. Someone you wish you could meet
10. Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to
11. A Deceased person you wish you could talk to
12. The person you hate most/caused you a lot of pain
13. Someone you wish could forgive you
14. Someone you’ve drifted away from
15. The person you miss the most
16. Someone that’s not in your state/country
17. Someone from your childhood
18. The person that you wish you could be
19. Someone that pesters your mind-good or bad
20. The one that broke your heart the hardest
21. Someone you judged by their first impression
22. Someone you want to give a second chance to
23. The last person you kissed
24. The person that gave you your favorite memory
25. The person you know that is going through the worst of times
26. The last person you made a pinky promise to
27. The friendliest person you knew for only one
28. Someone that changed your life
29. The person that you want tell everything to, but too afraid to
30. Your reflection in the mirror
Oh by the way, did you know that I have written a story on letters? You will find it here: Scrisorile.
©Shail Mohan 2014
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Swati Nitin Gupta said:
Loved reading your post the original comment got lost somewhere in technical issues I guess! but I was saying that your post reminded me of my days when dad was in the army and were posted in field areas. We all used to write letters to dad and it used to be a competition of sorts between brother and I (who will write the long letter to dad). Fun those days were!
Army and letter writing, a special connection existed between the two 🙂
Thanks, Swati 🙂
Swati Nitin Gupta said:
Yes it did! I have all the letters from dad still with me and he has mine! In fact my maternal grandma was also fond of writing and receiving letters!
Swati Nitin Gupta said:
Yes it did! By the way left comments on your other posts as well! Guess you are busy posting right now so keep writing!
Yeah. Besides I am a little busy searching for old classmates, catching up with those found, getting ready for the first meet et al 🙂 But I will get to the comments by and by 🙂
Usha Pisharody said:
All good wishes on this, though it’s going to be a cakewalk 🙂
A new way to say a few things 😉
Shilpa Gupte said:
I immensely enjoyed reading your post and it took me back to my youth which thrived on letters — letters from cousins, pen-pals and friends. We would write weekly letters and my daily routine would be: open the gate, check the mail-box and then enter the house — even in emergency cases, the mail box would be the first to get my attention! I do miss those lovely days because who writes letters these days? Today, it is all here, on the net and the letters are short messages with abbreviations that vex me.
I simply love writing letters and found the Letter Writing Challenge very interesting. I would love to participate in it, as well. It surely will fulfil my hunger for writing letters to all the people in the list.
Looking forward to teh big C! Have a good day!
Tell me about the abbreviations! I have an aversion for them too. I don’t mind getting letters via electronic medium as long as they are letters, not short notes. But sigh, I don’t think there are enough number of letter writers around.
You reminded me of someone who wrote a couple of wonderful letters and disappeared. i am going to dig up his letters and try and get him to reply 😀
I hope you have taken up the challenge and are fulfilling your desire! 🙂
Totally lost touch with letter writing. as part of the IB activity enjoyed writing a letter. will see if I can write some letters though not all 30 🙂
thanks for letting us know
I do hope you decide to join, Afshan 🙂
Same pinch! I hate writing official letters and I make sure to get it read so it looks formal enough 😛
Love this challenge. I think I will take it up 🙂
Ouch! 🙂 Welcome to Shail’s Nest. You just pinched me on arrival 😛 Glad to have company in the 30 day challenge 🙂
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BTW why did u burn the letters u both wrote to each other 😦
Well, we didn’t want anyone getting there hands on our letters 😉
Count me in.. Count me in..!! 🙂
Jump right in! 🙂
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simple girl said:
I wrote letters to my grandfather. Telephone had arrived then, but calls were damn expensive…So we wrote letters.. But elders would hardly be bothered to post if for us. So we wrote it when there was a visitor from the native, mostly relatives and sometimes neighbours who had carry the letters to the extended family..
Great challenge you have taken.. Will lurk here for the daily dose …
I can relate. Telephones calls were only for emergencies those days. 🙂
Yes, this is going to be a challenge, going by the list 🙂
Sfurti Juztamom said:
I love the concept and would love to take it up. I will try to start from today 🙂
Welcome aboard, Sfurti! 🙂
Can relate to this. Mom and dad wrote tons of letters to each other when he had field postings. We wrote many to him too. And can you believe that they have torn all the letters they wrote to each other? For the same reason you gave. eesh! 😛 But I do remember mom blushed a hell of a lot and dad kept smiling when they were re-reading the letters. This challenge seems tough though I know now that you can do it easy peasy Like that. .snaps fingers Just read your three letters. Loved the way you transported the reader to different worlds. (hugs) and all the very best!!
I can so relate to the blush and the smiles 😛
I didn’t think too much and jumped right into the challenge, though I had reservations. So far so good. 🙂
Thank you and hugs right back 🙂
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