Posted by: Madhavi CN | August 8, 2011

Thanks for that letter, my friend

Today I had taken up the task of clearing some of the junk. This exercise is tedious like any other physical exercise that fitness trainers prescribe but comes with a couple of extra benefits: 1. A cleaner space and 2. A personal sense of achievement. Since every person has one routine housework – washing the car, doing the laundry, dusting the house, arranging the books, baking a cake, organizing the financial papers, etc., that they find extremely de-stressing, do not raise the eyebrow at mine.

So there I was in my most faded T-shirt and most comfortable capris. Since the location I zeroed in was the attic, my paraphernalia included a nice aluminum ladder along with the regular dusting cloth, brush, broom, dustpan and all. I had the company of Asha Bhosle obliging Gulzar’s amazing lyrics and RD Burman’s magical baton with her melodious voice in Ijazzat. And then there was my daughter with her toy train chugging in circles on a track she carefully assembled with a ‘dexterity’ that only a 5 year old is capable of.

The first that underwent the inspection was a big box of stationery that included pens, pencils, erasers, staplers, punching machines (can you believe, I had 5 new ones!), sharpeners (had them in almost every color shade) of all varieties. It seemed like I had the entire inventory ready for starting a stationery shop for my neighborhood! The next was a huge box of home decoration stuff – 3 table lamps, metal figurines, paper lanterns, more and more of stuff that waited eagerly and patiently in the attic, to be displayed someday on the walls or shelves of our home.

Then came the two huge cartons labeled ‘memorabilia.’ I had to call out my husband to help me bring these heavy boxes down. I knew what lay before me so I made myself a steaming cup of South Indian kaapi and sat comfortably cross-legged and opened the boxes. Out came the magic – school magazines, diaries, my Management school brochure (where we proved to be pros at acting before even getting the chance to be pros at managing!), Greeting cards, autograph books (that brought back all my classmates, seniors and juniors of Visakha Valley, Bapatla Engineering college and School of Business Management) and then the best of all  – letters!

I actually thought I lost all the letters, especially those that my mom wrote, in the intercity and intracity transfers. Having lost mom, 5 years back to cancer, I can only say I have lost the physical presence of my one great friend and guru of life. Since I am good at saving every piece that has sentimental value, I was always sure that I had my letters with me. But after she was gone, though I searched many times, I could never find them. What a painful disappointment it was! Each time the thought that I lost ‘her’ letters came, I used to tell myself how careless I could be. But today when I found them, it was like a miracle. Every day I think of amma and my beautiful memories with her but today it is like, I touched her again. Wonder why I never thought of searching the ‘memorabilia’ boxes?!?

Then there were also letters from friends from almost every year of my life so far.  How we wrote! There were no BRBs, LOLs, NYCs,…and no emoticons too! 😛 What a charming way of putting our words on pieces of paper and sending them across by bus, train or air! No e-mail can match the joy of receiving that lovely piece of card/paper/envelope from the postman. The postman is still around, but he only delivers junk mails – bills and promo-mailers. The fault, is not his but ours. Since there were no mobile phones then to give minute-by-minute updates through SMS or calls, I still have the luxury of going through the moments I shared with family and friends, etched on paper for ‘post’erity.

The letters brought many smiles and a few tears. There is more to read and reminisce.

It is late in the evening now and I had to push all the boxes aside to make way for the Monday ahead. I did not do much of what I intended to do in the beginning. But, I know I did have a great time – walking down the memory lane with friends on Friendship Day!

Happy Friendship Day to everyone that once wrote a letter or sent a card to a friend!



  1. ‘Happy Friendship Day’ to you too. Question is, did ‘I’ (myself) sent any cards to a friend ever?!!…do not recall 😦

    Very good write-up, took me to that time once I had those ‘memorabila’ box moment :).

  2. lovely write up. Wish I had saved my Calcutta letters too..

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