On Writing Letters

A few of you all may or may not know of my rejuvenated love towards letter writing, (I was all over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (eek the latter, yes!) about it) but I am here to write more about it.

A couple of people I know recently stumbled upon a group of (not very) secret writers on Facebook. It was shared on a common platform we all belonged to and I was fascinated at first sight. I also knew that I had to be a part of this, because who doesn’t like writing letters? 🙂 Okay, there are a lot of people who don’t I know. But since I was a child, I use to write quite a bit of these.

It began with my Uncles and Grandfather being in the Middle East. This was before IDD calls became relatively inexpensive. I would write to them and they back to me. Late 90s to early 2000s, me thinks.

The next phase of my letter writing glory days was when my best friend and I from school used to write to each other. Then a few years later, perhaps when we were about thirteen, she sends me all my letters back to me saying she didn’t know what to do with it. In retrospect, it’s a small wonder that we hardly speak now.

If my memory proves me correct, the next set of letters come from my Grandmother. My Sister lived in Nuwara Eliya for a few years and I used to spend weeks from my school holidays over there. Lazing around, doing absolutely nothing. She used to write to us and we back to her. Once I remember she addressing the envelope as “Ms N + S”!

Then, my Sister left to the Middle East. Email was just starting to get savvy and we used to write letters, send cards and what not. I think my favourite time was when I wrote on a  (surprisingly) clean white wrapper used for kottu roti to write her a “letter” with a marker pen.  She was appalled and of course, pleased. The latter part of that last sentence is what I told my fourteen-year old self.

But then email picked up and we stopped writing.

Until, I left to India. I was in two long-distance relationships while I lived there for three years, one of which lasted during the first two years of university. He was not much of a writer. Actually, he wasn’t a writer at all! But as corny as it may sound now, he tried. He first tried by replying to my almost-thousand word emails, yes I have such tendencies – and then attempted at writing letters. They may have seemed very long to anyone seeing me reading them, however they weren’t. He just had very large handwriting and hence used a lot of paper! I still have some of those letters with me and read them and think to myself, “Young, love!” lol. I also wrote to my best friend when I was there. And of course, my Grandmother.

But then, I came back to Sri Lanka and began settling down (ish) and now opt to send emails because more often than not, I cannot find parking at the post offices I would usually go to. Now that I think of it, it doesn’t surprise me that some of my classmates in India had never been to a postoffice.

With the history recap done, I stumbled upon (twice over as I didn’t find them myself) on these guys: Letter Earthlings. I chatted with them a bit, only because I wanted to write with them and what do you know, it’s run by my second favourite Sri Lankan from university (the first being the roomie, duh 😀 ): Nivendra!

So what Letter Earthlings does is pretty simple. You send them either your address or any number of nominees you would want letter written to. Then we (I am proud to call myself this at this very moment) sit, meet and drink tea on one day and write those letters. What’s great about this time’s gathering is that it happened and in three different places of the world. Like WHAT?! On February 14 and 15, there were sessions in Dubai, Bangalore and Colombo. So just imagine the number of letters each of these people would receive?

While it would be unethical to go into their stories, let me just say that some of them genuinely needed some extra loving and attention and this very moment. Just to show them that there are others who care about them in this world. But then again, as childish as it may sound, we don’t need to be in a state of dire despair to tell ourselves and to know that there are people out there who care. While it’s all “adult” to act like you don’t care, it made my inner-child happy knowing that there are those whom we could reach out to and who willingly let themselves be reached out to.

There are many more letters we want to write together. I personally, cannot wait to be a part of the next session. I want to write for all those who a part of my life as well. I urge all those reading to have a look at the page and message us and await our mail with love.You could be anywhere in the world and like email, snail mail too gets delivered to you. Only takes a tad bit longer.

It could even be for yourself because you just wanted some extra loving.

With Valentine’s Day done and dusted and everyone’s stacking away the extra bears and heart-shaped décor for next year, it’s important to remember that we ought to love ourselves first. It may seem selfish to some, however, unless we love ourselves enough we will never have enough love to share with another. It’s funny how I can talk so much on love, being the person I am known to be, however, I like to consider myself an expert when it comes to self loving. 😉

The happy (post) man 🙂

P.S. – On Nivendra: this is a so-like him thing to do. One of the most selfless people I know, I sometimes wonder if people like himself doesn’t get tired of everything that happens around us and gets into utter fits of despair. Because I do and I am not in the least selfless. I am angered and flustered by injustice, irresponsibility and stupidity and worst of all, my inability to do anything about it. But people like Nivendra? I really don’t know how they make it. But I’m glad they do because the world is definitely a happy place with them around.


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