The long lost art of letter writing
By Almas Akhtar
Feb 24 th 2015
My definition of love is not just a bouquet of roses or expensive gifts my definition of love is time well spent with your loved ones , create memories , take photographs , write letters . Flowers and food goes bad after few days , gifts are out dated but written words always stay with you in your hearts and in your memories forever and forever .
I have always expressed my views with my words , I believe my words are a source of affection , a source of appreciation and a source of knowledge for people around me. I also believe that written words will stay in this world till the end of time.
And yes my words , my written words will definitely out live me ......
Since I was a little girl I enjoyed writing tiny notes for my parents , teachers and friends . Well that was the 1980s when every house had only one off white colored , rotary phone . The world was a peaceful place unharmed by the buzzing of cell phones , beeping of text messages or untainted by the web of social media.
My father was an executive at a foreign firm he travelled a lot , he always sent me letters and post cards from the countries he visited and asked me to reply him regularly .
I think I was in grade 1 that I wrote my first letter to him with my mothers help with two sentences in my childish hand writing . My father still has that letter , he actually has my entire collection of letters . I think that started my interest in writing , especially in letter writing.
Our English teacher in school always emphasized on letter writing and essay writing . In grade 9 we studied the entire collection of Ghalib "s letters in our urdu class .
Growing up in Karachi we used to pass around hand written chits during a boring science in school .We actually received hand made birthday invitation cards from friends rather than the " e- vites " of today . After completing 10 th grade and before moving to college I wrote many thank you letters to all of my teachers.
As time passed and I moved to United States I still continued with letter writing to family back home especially to my grandfather. Telephone calls were expensive in those days and texting / emails were not invented . My grandfather was hard of hearing , the best way to connect with him was to send him a letter . He always replied to them till his death in 2005. I still have letters from him sometimes it was really hard to read them as his hands would shake badly while writing .
My kids do text me many times during the day but when they were little they always enjoyed scribbling few words on a piece of paper or drew a picture for me , I have saved those hand written notes and cute drawings.
I have quite a big collection of letters written by my parents , grandparents , siblings cousins ,my kids and friends and the latest addition is the letter sent by my little niece early this year !
I remember reading the autobiographies of Benazir Bhutto and Elis Faiz , there most treasured memories were the hand written letters sent to them by their father and husband . I read experts from the diary of Anne Frank with my daughter when she was a little girl.
Anne Frank wrote the diary during the time she was hiding from the Nazis , it is addressed to the future generations.
I personally feel that there is a lot more emotion involved in the process of actually writing something down on paper with a pen or a pencil.
We live in a time and place in this world when things are getting highly mechanized and the digital era has virtually taken over our lives.
I guess it's not only me but everyone cherishes the old faded photographs and hand written letters as their prized possessions.
When I look around I think I should not complain too much after all we live in the " FaceTime " and " Skype " world , we can see the person across the globe while we talk to them ......tis a to bright future and to golden memories of old times !!