I tore open the packet hoping nothing except what I know it contained. As I was about to throw the envelope into the trash can, a neatly folded paper floated out, settling quickly onto the floor. I picked it up and there it was!
A Letter in the truest sense. An old-world letter. The kind that is written with fingers joined. When an impatient pen touches a waiting paper. Not the kind that is punched onto raised plastic buttons throwing some random sequence of 0’s and 1’s into a heated mess of silicon junk. With fingers separate.
A Rakhi, along with a letter. From a sister I speak to on phone every week.
I initially thought it was stupid. Or completely silly. How can my eyes be moist? I speak to her so often. Now-a-days, we are meeting a bit more frequently too. What difference can a letter really make when I spend megabytes of airwaves talking to her?
And then a drop lands on the unfolded sheet. Oh no! I can’t cry like this. It’s so embarrassing. And for what reason? A letter?
Yeah, a letter. I realized.
Rakhi is the only occasion when sometimes, just sometimes, I receive letters. From my two sisters to be precise.
A little bit of enquiry. How is my brother doing in an alien land. Is he taking care of his health. Is he eating properly. Is he sleeping well and trying to work a bit less.
A little bit of lamentation. We aren’t fortunate enough a tie a Rakhi on your wrists. We are’nt lucky enough to share a sweet broken by our teeth.
A little bit of wish. Let the Gods shower flower on the road he takes. May he be the happiest person on the earth. May he have no obstacles ever on his way.
These are the letters I have grown up with. Since my childhood, I have compared my notes with my elder sister. I have corrected the notes of my younger sister. The letters have a face. They have an old identity in them. There is a smell in them. The way the “Bha” of “Bhai” curls or way the sentences droop. The way typos are corrected or the way words are chosen. It’s our childhood that the paper carries with it. Unlike an email, it carries with it bits of my sister. The motion of her hands that is so familiar to me. The memories of those days.
How can it be compared to an email? Or an SMS?
How have things changed! In the times of instant gratification, the charm of waiting is gone. But if you think, waiting is not such a bad thing after all. I remember the days when I used to write letters to someone who I was trying to establish a romantic relationship with (albeit unsuccessfully). You write a letter and wait for a reply. You wait for days, sometimes weeks. But somewhere in the corner of your heart you believe that a reply would come. In the pile that the postman dumps in the common room, one day you would have your name written. It set offs possibilities, expectations, fears and excitements. The process of waiting is not waiting really. There is no waiting for something. It is the thing.
I look around my cubicle. No. No one is looking at me. I wipe my eyes by the sleeves of my shirt with a flick of my shoulder. It’s so illogical, I am tempted to think. But I could do nothing to stop my tears, even though I kept on telling myself that this isn’t happening.
We are a generation that swears by words such as logical, methodical, certainty, voluntary. However, sometimes involuntary things do happen to us that we might want to call illogical. But they are as logical as anything in the world can be. Probably we fail to make a distinction.
Between what is logical and what isn’t.