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I happened to visit an excellent boarding school in Jalgaon, recently. Run by Bhanvarlal Jain family, which runs Jain Irrigation and many other companies, this school, Anubhuti has a wonderful campus, spread in 100 acres. While this sprawling complex is wonderful, what I liked the most is something else, something non-tangible! While talking to the principal, he told us that it is mandatory for each and every student to write one letter every week, to his/her parents and to complete the chain, it is compulsory for the parents also, to write a letter back to their kids!! I liked it because, it will induce them to express themselves and eventually, it will teach them to ‘think and write’, and not the other way round!

This might appear old-fashioned or antiquated, but I remember how special it was to write a letter and even more exciting, to receive one! The curiosity about it’s possible contents had its own joy, which is difficult to narrate! Unfortunately, all this has become a matter of past now, thanks to the communication technology of 21st century, where email, SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, Tumblr, Viber, Skype and many more such online platforms have replaced letters.

With this, gone is the thrill, the nostalgia, the warmth and the love, which used to come enveloped in the letters. Right from the tangible feeling of the paper texture and its smell, to the nib and ink, and watching the words flowing on paper, it was a great joy from which, today’s generation is sadly deprived! We are now living in an era, which is dominated by the net and netiquette and nobody has time to sit down and write personalised letters. We are in a fast-paced race against time, where speed of email is more important than the emotions of snail mail! As a result, we have now landed in the ‘cold & clinical’ world of electronic communication! WhattsApp or FB or other such platforms are even worst, where grammar and spellings are crucified, mercilessly! Thus, while we feel advanced with electronic communication and it’s speed, we must remember that we are slowly getting converted into ‘humans without emotions’, where the communication is either ‘cold & clinical’ or the worst, it is ‘cut & paste’...

While talking about the fading (or worst, dying) art of letter writing, I realised that 9th October is celebrated as World Post Day, the world over. It is amazing that when there was no ‘digital network’ the postal network of India’s 1.5 lac post offices and almost 50 crore lal dabbas of letter boxes, kept many generations, connected. While today’s kids will tell you that if an email address is incorrect, the automated system will send Mail Delivery Failure Notification; but they can’t imagine that in our postal department, there are Returned Letter Offices or RLOs, which tries to trace the receiver and get the letters
delivered! Now, that’s what is missing. There is no human touch - just ‘hit out or get out’... Anyways, these are the signs of change or, the cost of advancements!

While concluding, I would like to convey my greetings for Diwali and billions of best wishes for the New Year, dear readers...

KAMAL KHOKHANI
Publisher - INSITE