I still have them, safely preserved in a metal chest , those precious , cherished letters of love . I haven’t seen their physical form in many years now as I never uprooted the chest from my parents’ home. But I vividly remember the curves of the alphabet , the unique handwriting in different letters , the succinct picture post cards with a “how are you ?” ,the blue inland letters with interesting everyday tales and compact spiritual philosophy , the Birthday cards, New Year’s cards, dated and signed by precious family and friends. However, the most intimate , regular, anxiously awaited letters that I received as a teenage girl in that era can be classified into two categories.
(a) The short and sweet yellow postcards from my dear grandfather with a self-addressed reply post card stapled to them, saving me all the hassles, just so he could hear a “hi”, at frequent intervals. He wrote in my mother tongue, once every week. Unfailingly. He was concerned that my passion to learn English might eventually dilute my dialogue with my mother tongue. His letters were almost identical . He would ask me about my studies, whether I was taking my daily dose of vitamins , whether I was diligently using the mosquito net – ordinary short paragraphs , the “extra” in them visible only to me . He would sum up his side of the weekly story in a sentence or two. He didn’t keep count of who was initiating the letters as long as the correspondence was alive . I would have to admit that it was him, most of the times .He was happy with an “I am OK ” in the attached reply post card.
( b) The long friendly chats sealed in thick envelopes from my best friend in school . Our letters read like the “dear diary” entries in the personal journal of a teenager- no edits , no filters. We would talk about things that we hesitated to share with siblings or cousins – the unadulterated joy of falling in love, the sweet ache for that venerated crush ,the tales of the non-compliant mind , words of encouragement and the “it will all be fine”. Each letter from her was like a secret message hidden inside a fortune cookie , only a lot more precious.
What is best is that the letters carried along the touch, the ambience , feelings of the author of the letters . In reading them, i could actually feel the imprint of an intimate part of the dear sender, engraved in their words. I see my letters of love , as deeds , deeds that expressed how cherished and valued I was, with words as crucial adjuncts to convey a sense of complete love.