Would You Like To Be A Ping Away Or A Postcard Away ?

I have never received a postcard to this date.

Not that I am complaining, as I have been lucky enough to receive a few letters. What catches my sorrow is how the strong wave of digitization swept away the ancient tools and techniques of communication that have always worked, eliciting wonder and surprise.

I wish I was born a little early. To live in the period when iconic red postboxes stood majestically at the entrance to many a street, when people took pride in writing and would patiently wait for days and sometimes for months to hear from their friends & family members who lived in far flung locations.

A postcard isn’t simply a pretty picture and a summary of the sender’s holiday, it’s so much more than that. If you send a postcard to someone, you can be sure that it will stick around for a lifetime. The fact that it’s a tangible object adds another dimension that email attachments cannot replicate.

No chat application can equal to the pleasure of rushing towards the entrance to answer a postman’s doorbell only to receive a humble yellow postcard or a blue inland letter paper picked out from a heavy brown bag filled with loads of similar packets. No e-mail drafts, will ever be able to take the place of crushed letter pads thrown in a waste bucket only to be written again on a fresh paper with a pen dipped into a bottle of ink.

You can backspace a text, a mail but not a handwritten note. You can type taking short breaks from your work , you can frame a text as you are travelling in a metro, but to write you will need to steal some time from the distractions to be seated facing towards the light as you think about the recipient of the letter , living miles away from you.

There is nothing lovelier than receiving the innermost thoughts of another person in their handwriting, their words smeared with the side of their palm or looped in cursive ink so that they all run together.

The current generation does not know what it is missing. Nor will they ever get a chance to experience the emotional depth of receiving birthday notes and festival greetings by post. No wonder the technological advancement has bridged the communication gap to an extent the ancestors would have never thought of and it has made life multiple times easier especially for the ones living in remote corners of the world.

But the very fact that social media messages are impersonal and convey no immediate sense of belonging cannot be denied.

You can type a text, copy it and send it to 100 more people. Also you don’t have to waste time ( as we call it nowadays) sitting and crafting a fresh note because we can anyway copy ,paste and send one of the messages we have received.

Now you might say, postcards are anachronistic, usurped by Tweets, instant messaging, Facebook updates and the like, so why write? I say the two approaches can work together quite well: one offers instant gratification while the other provides a long-lasting, handwritten chronicle that may be kept and enjoyed for generations.

Consume all that the latest applications has in store for you but don’t let it deprive you of the timeless writing instruments which were once the sender of good news, girl is born, marriage is fixed, son has passed his plus two exams, daughter got admission into engineering college. Or the other kind, need to borrow money, mother passed away, father in hospital.

Glimpses of one of the Postcards sent to my Grandfather by a close acquaintance living in Jaipur. The Postcard talks about nothing but India’s struggle after Independence.
Dated — 14th January, 1993

Maybe one day your heirs too will get their hands on some of your handwritten notes and get fortunate to understand you closely just in case you are not there for them.

P.S — Now it’s your turn to write a postcard and see if the person writes back to you.

Thank You for Reading !

Here is wishing you a Happy Valentines Day  ♥



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