Images and text by Sarita Rajiv
This morning there was a gift package for me in the mail. It was from a friend. I was expecting this package and so it came with the thrill of anticipation. Even as I knew what the package contained (a beautiful wool hat crocheted by my friend), my eyes were searching, my fingers fumbling to find a piece of paper that I hoped was included.
I was looking for a note, but hoping my friend had included a letter. She had, along with a couple of other gifts for my daughter and me. Aah, the shiny excitement of surprise! The first time I read the letter, I rushed through it like a child gulping down a piece of chocolate. The second time around, I slowed down, pausing every now and then to savour her handwritten words and the memories those words triggered.
As teens, every time one of us travelled out of our home town Mumbai, we would write letters to each other. We wrote every single week, detailing the simple, the fun and the mundane things happening in our daily lives. This was the India of the nineties; the internet wasn’t a part of everyday lives yet.
The gift of a handwritten letter
One of the things my friend wrote in her letter was, “I’m so thankful we can Skype so easily these days; however I have to admit receiving a letter has its charm.” That rings true for me. With my friend in the Americas and me in Europe, the digital world is an ally in our friendship allowing us to remain in touch. Even so, the warmth and intimacy of a personal, handwritten letter is something else, isn’t it?
Handwritten letters are so unusual in our digital lives that they’ve acquired a kind of rarity that makes them special. And that’s why I think a handwritten letter makes a unique gift. It’s a lovely way of showing your appreciation for the people you love and care about. A handwritten letter is symbolic of the time, effort and feeling you’ve put in to communicate what they mean to you. I think it conveys emotions and feelings in a way the internet can’t. It swallows distances in a jiffy and stays back as a memoir of your intentions, your emotions, your feelings.
What do you think? Do you like receiving handwritten letters and what’s the best one you’ve ever received?