The smell of a mail

Black Board – The word brings into mind the classrooms, wooden benches, the writings with the chalk on the board etc

Coffee – Brings on the refreshing feeling & the tempting smell. Our perception of coffee will never change. It will remain the same forever.

But in case of certain words, the impact or the visual image they create in our mind change with time. One such word is, ‘Mail’.

10 years back, the words ‘You have a mail’ would have sent you running down the stairs and straight onto the postman. A letter or mail then carried the priceless words of a loved one from a distant state or country. But the very same ‘You have a mail’ makes no difference to your expression today. Leave alone body language.

Communication these days have sure made things faster – Building relations & breaking them! Both happen in a jiffy. The soul of the relationship has gone missing. The umpteen mails that fill my inbox creates nil or limited impact these days compared to one letter that the postman brought. I realized the difference when I did my degree in a University near Bangalore. We had access to neither cell phone, nor internet. The only means of communication was letters. Yes! Even today it is possible to live without cell phones & internet. The University is a living example!

Every evening by around 6 pm, the In-charges used to go around distributing the letters. When the In-charges (much similar to our postmen) began their rounds with the posts, all used to wait eagerly with a tinge of hope to hear from their loved ones. The ones who got a letter would run about informing all her friends about the news. Letters not only brought news from far, but they brought happiness & smiles too. Oh! The bliss that followed…

These days, a few clicks on the keyboard or cell keys & an ‘Enter’ would send your message across the globe in a matter of seconds. The reply would be in an instant. People talk & talk so much that they lose track of what they are saying or listening. Words are used loosely. ‘Backspace’ & ‘delete’ play an important role today.

Buying and stocking envelopes & stamps, writing on inland letters, using each & every word cautiously lest there’s a lack of space, using every bit of the inland, gluing the paper properly, putting it in the postbox & praying that it reaches the person on time & finally waiting for the reply. Waiting, waiting, waiting… These are the ‘privileges’ I would say that we have lost today. The act of doing this entire drill itself is an act of love. 🙂

These days, there are applications that reveal the time when the user logged in or logged off. If I have buzzed a friend, he came online but didn’t reply, I begin to get uneasy. I feel abandoned, ignored & unwanted. The applications & networks play with our feelings. But back then, patience, hopes & dreams were the applications that worked. Everyday you lived with the hopes of getting a letter, few words of love & prayers from a loved one. Once the letters came, as I mentioned earlier, the joy knew no bounds.

Not to mention, the guessing game: Identifying the sender from his/her handwriting. These letters never had delete & backspace for words were used carefully & sparingly.

I have kept safely  some of the letters & greetings that I have received over the years. Once in a while I go through them. The satisfaction I get when I leaf through each of those pages even after so many years cannot be expressed. One’ll not get the same level of satisfaction when they re-read any of the e-mails or messages. Because the stationary has life – the touch & handwriting of the sender, the smell of old & yellowed paper & most importantly the handpicked words brimming with feelings.

How about keeping the art of writing a letter alive? If you like writing letters, find a friend who likes it too. Once in a while write letters to each other & keep them safely. They’ll come in handy one fine day. 🙂


19 thoughts on “The smell of a mail

  1. On Facebook, the instant message reveals to the sender if the receiver read their message or not. I wish I could read it privately and then respond so that the person who sent me the message doesn’t get offended by my lack of time to write back.


    1. Exactly feel the same here. Giving a reply requires putting our heart & soul into it. Specially if it is for a close person. Some replies have to be given after thinking properly but in this era of instant messaging, nobody can be blamed.


      1. I completely agree. I also find that hardly anybody says goodbye anymore since we can text message now. I remember saying goodbye over the phone, cellphone, email, even messengers. But because of how informal text messaging is, some people just stop talking and it leaves me wondering, “Hey, were we done talking or battery died or what?”


      2. Yeah & sometimes we wait for a long while for a reply. Next day when we ask about it, they easily say they slept off while we are left hanging. 😦


  2. I love this, it is so true. I used to keep a steady correspondence with a couple people. But over the years it tapered off. The title really nails it! And I used to love paying attention to their handwriting, as I would change mine for them to ingest my feelings as I wrote. I remember one I spent so much time on, I just had to get it right. Beautifully written(or typed), I’ve enjoyed this one and look forward to more of your musings. 🙂


    1. I think you should continue keeping in touch with people through letters/mails. And ofcourse! trying to disguise our handwriting was something I missed in my post. Thanks for adding that.
      I am glad you liked it 🙂


  3. Your post sent me back a few decades when I used to love writing letters to all my aunts, uncles and cousins. It was my favourite hobby especially during the
    Diwali vacations. I used to look forward to letters too from them. Even our school results would be sent through the postman each year and we used to wait eagerly for it. It is so true that telegram that once sent urgent messages has now become an App. And we use break relations even before they are formed now. – Sudha #MyfriendAlexa


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