Oh, how I miss the good old days of writing letters

The joy and excitement of receiving the much-awaited letter was always unexplainable.

Photo credit: Pool

The mere thought of letter writing gives me nostalgia. In high school, every Friday in the dining hall when we were having supper, the Head Girl would stand at the podium calling out the names of those who received letters from the post office that week.

Girls in the hall would giggle as their names were called while others would keep hoping, to the end, that their names would be called. While some would enjoy their weekend reading cute sweet nothings from boys from other schools, or, rarely, receive a word or two from their relatives, others would end up disappointed having received nothing.

The joy and excitement of receiving the much-awaited letter was always unexplainable. For those who received a letter, they never went unnoticed among their peers. And receiving two or more letters at a go made you a celebrity.

There were cliques of girls who were ‘famous’ in school and would receive at least three letters weekly.

A letter allowed the relationship between the writer and the audience to take shape in a personal, meaningful way.

‘Bombasticate it to’ and ‘fly it to’ were some of the catch phrases calligraphed on the envelopes. Some of the most interesting letters were those written on perfume sprayed pages from cute writing pads, with the classic ending being a dedication of a love ballad. To top it off, the senders would carefully and uniquely fold the letter in various shapes before putting it inside an envelope, and add lines like ‘Guess who? Ready, here I come’ or ‘Open with a smile’, to make things more interesting.

At times when one of us would receive a letter from a crush from a different school, we would spend hours analysing it, correcting the grammar, and even rating it like a composition out of the possible 40 marks. Then if the crush doesn't meet “our expectations”, we would mail back the corrected and rated letter.

That remind show on opening days while shopping for school necessities, unique writing pads and stamps were coveted goods that never missed on our lists.

Where did we get all that time to write, read and analyse letters? I don’t know, but that was the fun of it all.

Nowadays, with technology, nobody seems to write letters anymore. Official Emails and text messages have taken up the scene. Writing accurately, frequently, and at length, with increasing fluency and sophistication has been replaced with short forms and abbreviated texts. Once one is through with the compulsory Insha and Composition writing in school, it looks like that’s it!

A lot of communication these days is electronic but when you are applying for a job or you have a problem that you are negotiating, in all sorts of circumstances, you need to be able to write letters.

Oh how I miss the days when we would attend events outside schools like music and drama festivals, science congresses, mathematics clubs, or games, we used to exchange names and school addresses rather than phone numbers, and for one to correctly note down the addresses, a pen and a notebook came in handy. Nowadays, phone numbers and Email addresses seem to have taken over.

Back then, we earned many friends, and a few enemies here and there, from the old tradition of writing letters which made school life bearable.