MIDWAY : E-mails aren’t letters!

Shashi Dhungel

It’s been a long time since I last received a bunch of snail mails from anyone whom I care about. I get e-mails everyday but have little interest in reading them. It’s usually weeks before I am alerted about my mail box getting crammed with e-mails. That is when I click open my in-box. I almost always delete mails forwarded to me and have little or no interest in replying them, unless important.

Thanks to the Internet, even the remotest destination on the globe is just a few clicks away. I, however, derive no charm from reading e-mails, even from exotic destinations. On the other hand, I wonder how I would have loved to get greeting cards through the postman. I relish the thought of these cards adorning my table. With a swift bargain as the Internet at hand, it is but natural for anybody to resort to e-mails. However cruel it might sound, the senders are sure that e-mails wont be lost on the way and delivered in time. I admit that I am an Internet addict myself. I don’t need to make effort to remember my friends’ birthdays. My digital diary does it for me.

I go online everyday and check mails without fail. But I have stopped going to the post office. At once a month, a visit to the post office is now an optional chore. After all, there won’t be any letters in exquisite handwriting inside an envelope Sealed With A Kiss (SWAK) and a nice postage stamp which would have added to my collection. I miss my friends handwriting, the wordings, the syntax and the calligraphic intros, if any. I still swell with pride on remembering how I used to relish the affair of opening a letter and reading it. The suspense between opening a letter and going through it is simply exhilarating. With the advent of e-mail, the days of making pen friends too seem to be numbered. Chat buddies have replaced pen pals. Speedy electronic communication facility seems to have diluted the element of fondness and love that letters fostered.

I relish my childhood routine when I used to write letters to my father when he was away. The whole exercise of writing with all the care and concentration, besides sealing it with love — I guess those were the days I really cared about him — was simply a joyous occasion. Even more so was receiving his reply, with mistakes in my missives underlined in red.

Now I make less spelling errors and am better aware about grammatical nuisance. Although this may be due to my computer helping me all the while, I doubt if the next generation would even know this much about letters.