There was a time when I waited tirelessly at my house gate to get a glimpse of the bicycle with its bulb horn making the sweetest sound on the street.” Hi Anna, did you get anything for me?” I asked him and he hands over the folded light blue letter addressed to me. The feeling of receiving a letter addressed to my name was priceless. I still remember how I used to smell the letter to see if there is any leftover smell of Kerala in it. I had a friend in Kerala who relocated there due to her dad’s job. She studied with me in school and left half way there. There were no telephones to communicate and hence letters was the only bet. Right from exchanging friendship bands to letting her know my mid-term marks, we communicated it all. The “2 states – story of my life” happened way back in 1997.
I had a crush on my school junior (I studied in all-girls school), blame me for my stupid teenage hormones, I did not know whether it was good or bad to like another girl. I still remember giving her gifts and waiting for an occasion to talk to her. I was in my ninth/tenth during these times. We went to Kodaikannal for a school trip during my tenth, it was during the first week of August and we took Friends more seriously than Friendship day back then. Nevertheless, I made it a point to call her from there to wish her and to be honest she was embarrassed and scared if I was some kind of a stalker, but making that STD call to a friend to wish her on Friendship day meant a lot to me.
I recollect the times during Diwali, Birthdays and Valentine Day, the long queue in Archie’s and Hallmark to select the perfect greeting card for the loved one. Not to forget the glitter pens we bought to decorate the inside of the card with nicely written quotes and perfect calligraphy. The look on their faces when they open the card to read the message and especially the musical cards, oh how lovely they were to open…!
The last day of my school and college were the toughest. I had a feeling im leaving my mother’s womb again. A place that was comfortable with people whom I could trust, why should I leave? These were the days when almost all of us had an extra book in our bag that we ensured we carried around whether we had any other book or not. Any guesses which one? YES! The SLAM BOOK.I still remember how I went around asking for my class mates to fill in those pages. I still have mine. Those dreams that we wrote on them, those ambitions that we penned, where are they? The feeling of writing those few lines in a friend’s slam book was much more worth it than writing a testimonial in Orkut.
Birthdays were easier to remember than an arithmetic algorithm. The times when ten of us pool in money to buy a 500/- worth gift for our friends will never come again. The competition that we used to have as to who has the most number of friendship bands in the wrist. When we lost our way, the only GPS we knew were the autowallas.
Today, when I look back and connect the dots, it’s saddening to see how much we have digitally connected and how we have become emotionally detached. Today, I don’t remember my friend’s birthdays like I used to. The very few birthdays I remember are those of my school mates. How many of us even take the time to call a loved one today? We get reminders to wish someone we love. We message instead of making that call. Conversations on social media has become more than that between two hearts.
We use smileys to emote, but in reality we slowly forget how to emote it from within. I don’t know if the transformation is doing us any good or not, I do not want to debate. When was the last time you wrote somebody a letter? Our postal department releases so many stamps to encourage us to use their services; honestly the feeling of reading a handwritten letter is priceless in comparison to a Facebook or a whatsapp message.
The sad thing is we cannot go back to those times even if we wanted to. They always remain as a memory, a moment frozen in our minds to which we can only rewind mentally and live those moments in our minds. But what we can do is at least not let it fade away forever. How? I don’t know. When the reason is strong, facts don’t count. Do they?
As digitally equipped we get, we have the latest technology telling us where we are and what direction we need to go. But, deep within, are we really heading in the right direction with this? GPS locates us when we are lost but it is our loved ones who find us when we are lost in life.
Things are to be used and people are to be loved, let’s not change that…!