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The loss of the art of ‘Letter Writing.’

The Art of Writing Letters

Have you received handwritten letters or written them to anyone in your life? If yes, then you are one like me!

Well, I come from an era where handwritten letters were the only way to communicate apart from telephones. As for phone calls, those days cost a hell lot—especially the STD and ISD calls.

Today when I sit back and think about that time, I am reverie.

The other day I was talking to my daughter while driving her back home, and suddenly, the topic started with letters. She said, ‘Mamma, I really like the handwritten letters – especially the one embossed with a seal.’ She is obsessed with the letters that are sealed. Anyway, it was surprising for me as she belongs to Generation Z.

I started my communication by sharing with her, ‘Baby, you know we used to receive our annual results as a report in a yellow envelope when I was in primary school. She was shocked! Am I talking about the same era, or do I belong to some bygone era? I asked her. But the millennials will agree with me here.

I continued sharing with her how we used to wait for the postman and our annual results during the vacations after our final exams. And the anxiety would be at its peak if we had to leave the city for the summer vacation to our granny’s place, which was miles away in a different state, before receiving the post. I told her I remember sitting on the porch of my house for hours daily for the postman uncle to come on his black atlas cycle and shout my name before entering our lane and finally handing over the envelope. To open and check the result as soon as it came was a thrill and a story.

So, like this started rituals of writing letters in my life. I developed a habit of writing to myself and gradually developed the habit of writing a diary. I also wrote letters to my cousins and friends from different states and corners of the world.

I still have a bunch of two decades-old, preserved letters that my best friend wrote to me after we got married. I also have letters written by my parents and in-laws, along with my brother and a few other friends, after I left India and settled in UAE.

Somehow these handwritten letters make me feel their presence every time. I treasure them. Now, especially after losing both my father and father-in-law, today, what I have is their handwritten letters that make me feel their presence with me all the time!

There’s something about seeing a person’s feelings written down, someone taking the risk and committing that heart to paper, that means so much more than anything they could say.

“A letter is the most basic – yet the most flexible – mode of correspondence, regardless of its subject matters.”

– Scribendi

If given a choice in the world of the internet and emails, I would prefer personal letters. Penning down thoughts carry sentiments that make memories in one’s personal life. Handwritten messages carry emotions which make the other person understand how much you love them, value them, and share your feelings to convince them.

Handwritten letters are lovely and expressive, which leave footprints in one’s heart. I love writing letters. I still do it. I write letters to my daughter and my husband to convey the feelings and emotions that I can’t express verbally.

Letter writing is truly a lost art, a vintage skill. However, the flow of a pen gracefully elaborating your thoughts to someone… Let’s revive it!

– Lamiya Siraj