For my Writing 101 assignment, I picked up my daughter’s book-“The Nancy Drew Notebooks” by Carolyn Keene. The word “Post Office” grabbed me by the throat on page 29. I used my memories associated with it to write a letter to myself.
I do not mean this as an expression as in “Dear Me! I simply forgot the pie in the oven!” but as a term of endearment for my much younger self.
As I look down the memory lane, I feel in awe of myself, of the things I did and the friends I made. So, let me take a breath and start again. “Dear Kitty..”. Oh? I slipped up! But, this phrase has been in my subconscious ever since I turned 14. That was when I read “The Diary of Anne Frank”. She wrote it cooped up in an attic, hiding from the Nazis, when she was 14. I read it when I was 14, amongst writing, to others. I was struck by how she personified her diary, addressing it by the name Kitty. She started each new entry with “Dear Kitty”.
So, instead of Dear Me or Dear Kitty, let it be Dear Sona. I start again (and here I seem to find my voice).
I read about a post office today and so many memories came flooding in. Of stamps, writing paper, envelopes and letter boxes.
I remember you being a prolific letter writer. I remember how you chose stamps first. And then the writing paper. Wherever you went, you scouted the area for good stationery shops and went to look for fancy writing paper. There was a time when you had a particular love for rice paper and you bought so many of them in Goa and Nepal.
All that done, you would sit down to cover the sheets with small, spidery words evenly spaced. You would scrawl on, sheet after sheet.
A new place, a new house, and you would go in search of letter boxes nearest to you, so that your lifeline could be kept alive.
The visit of the post man would be a joyous affair and the sight of letters and cards strewing the driveway sent you into ecstasy.
You wrote to everybody you knew. Friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. Letters to the editor of the newspaper, letters to the magazines, letters to pen-pals. The most important thing in your life was the blue inland letter and covering every inch of that was considered a feat.
There were many people you meant to write to always because you could not bear to be separated from them, so that you could always be in their lives, even when distance separated you. You pledged to be best friends forever.
Today, I just want to say a few words about this. I want to tell you to keep writing. Keep the communication open. Keep your friends close. Your friends know all bits of you. They would stand by you. They would guide you in times of doubt. They would be your pillars of strength when time wears you down. Keep them close, hold them tight.
If you neglect them now, you would feel lonely and weighed down by guilt for deserting them, for not expressing gratitude and for not being around for them when they needed you.
Lots of love to you. Stay in touch.