How long was the longest letter you’ve written to someone? Mine was 16-page (A4) long. I wrote it to my brother who was studying Engineering in another town. I missed my one-on-one conversations with him so much, I would write each and every thought in those letters. And, the best part was – he was a snail-mail/writing-enthusiast too. So, we wrote epic letters to each other. In the middle of all this, our postman was the one who enjoyed the show the most. He would at times take the liberty to ask me what I wrote, what reply did I receive, how do I find the time to write so many letters when I have academic books to study and homework to take care of.
In Pari, I have found a letter-writing enthusiast. She’s always been. Even at the age of three. That was when I bought her a beautiful leather-bound spiral notebook that she could use to scribble. She decided to use each page in that red notebook to write letters to family and friends.
And, she wrote and how! Wrote many letter – to her grandmother (my mom and Avie’s), to Micky Mouse, to Santa Claus, to a friend and many more. Sadly, we weren’t able to post many of those letters because the postoffice wasn’t an easy thing to do. Well, in Indian cities, there’re too many things that aren’t easy to negotiate. Simple tasks become complicated due to traffic, heat, pollution, long queues at government offices. And then, my own inertia.
Now, in Goa, the post office is a 5-minutes walk from home and there’re no queues. The head postman is mostly free. So, whenever we go, we ask him questions out of curiosity – about his work, about stamps, national and international rates for normal post versus registered post versus speed post. Then, we take our own sweet time to decide which mode should we opt for.
So, we’ve been taking full advantage of this resource. We’ve been sending letters, cards, hand-made gifts, crafts – to our family and friends all over the country. International is not too economical, but I’m tempted to start that too.
Over the past few weeks alone, we’ve sent many parcels – small and big. Embroidered cards, old boxes given new lease of life with shells and paint, small packets of hand-made soaps, wedding cards renewed into recipe cards. And, there’re are some more parcels in the line.
That said, all these things we’ve sent so far seem nice and sweet and sane. Sane? Well, yes, now I feel like sending something odd and surprising and whacky. Something that would startle the receiver, make him/her wide-eyed, make him/her laugh out loud. Like, my friend, Laura Grace Weldon wrote in this interesting article about sending snail mail – how about sending something unwrapped. This is possible in the U.S. and may be other countries I don’t know. Not sure of it’s possible here in India. If it is, I do want to try this out.
Finally, I want to take this snail-mail passion very seriously. This is what I want to do next with Pari – for the next 52 weeks. I want to send out at least one parcel in a week. It could be a letter written on anything else other than a normal paper – our own handmade paper, a leaf, a T Shirt. We can always send handmade gifts but we also want to try out an eatable, plant, seeds, dried turmeric from our yard, pictures, art journal page, a story, a newspaper cutting, a recipe (we’ve already sent one). Or, it could be something relevant to what the receiver is doing at those times – collecting stamps/coins, is interested in movies, wants to learn about crocheting. We can be the helper/researcher in his/her project.
Imagine the learning connections and the heart connections we would make this way!
I can’t wait. What ’bout you? Do you like to keep the postman on his toes too?