Monday, March 2, 2015

The long lost art of letter writing

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 !!