My Dear Komal, Anjli and Amar,
For me, writing is a great stress reliever. This could be writing letters, or reflecting on daily events, or even putting down thoughts of my readings, may that be of either a book or of some news item.
Somewhere in my pursuit of reading about life lessons, it has been suggested that to find peace and purpose in daily living, it is good to regularly jot down thoughts on paper. You will probably remember my advice of ‘writing daily’ when you were little. You are all so proficient on the keyboard that actually writing on paper with either a pen or a pencil will feel like an alien activity. My sincere suggestion would be to make this ‘alien activity’ your ‘must do activity’ . Start a diary perhaps. Start by jotting down ideas on your phone and then move on to the paper! Then again, we do enough activities on the phone, perhaps this would be a great way to move away from that phone! Writing is an important component of communication. By improving all the skills of writing you can enhance your communication. This in turn would improve countless relationships.
Lately writing has also helped me in improving my Gujarati. Up until recently, we were only reading short stories in our Gujarati Book club. Now we have moved onto to longer novels. Writing notes (in Gujarati) has helped me remember individual chapters and also improve my ability to write and discuss the story in Gujarati. My next aim is to reduce the use of English words to explain my thoughts. And the next step would be to write to you in German.
For someone who loves writing, it is strange that I never had penfriends when I was younger. I guess I seriously started writing when I first moved to England. In those days Kiranmasi and I exchanged letters(long) every fortnight. Over the years the letter writing had been extended to numerous other friends, relatives and yourselves. This correspondence-addiction also got me into hunting down and collecting fancy writing paper. I have hoarded many past correspondence, so much so that I can easily get buried in my treasure box of old letters for hours. So if Atishmama wanted to know his O level(GCSE) results I can still dig out the letter he wrote to me with all these details! Recently I hooked up with one of my Jinja friend after nearly 30 years. I was amazed to learn that she still had some of my letters with her. Unfortunately I have lost touch with many of my other friends.
I used to be so engrossed in writing letters that when I worked for the year at Croydon General Hospital Pharmacy, I would walk early to work and sit in the staff room to write my letters before starting the day! No wonder, my colleagues gifted me a beautiful ink Parker pen when I left.
Writing my thoughts on the books that I have read has also been a great exercise. As most of you love reading, let me highly recommend a book that I recently read. As usual it is a book club suggestion and one that I would not normally have picked up: ‘The Island of Sea Women’ by Lisa See. The story is set on the island of Jeju in South Korea and based on the unusual and dying lifestyle of the island’s sea-diving women. It is a moving tale of the friendship of two sea-diving women, spanning over a period of 70 years. The characters are fictional and the whole story is woven around historical events. I took a long time to read this story for besides needing extra time to digest the sad parts, I also delved into the Korean history.
Have I tempted you into writing to me? Will I get a surprise in the post? The whole process of finding fancy writing paper, good writing instrument, jotting down thoughts on paper, sealing the letter, writing the address on the outside, going to the post office and finally placing the stamps on the correct corner of the envelope……is a journey worth taking. And the best part is receiving an answer.
Talking of the post office reminds me of an incident last year when I sent a parcel of chocolates to an elderly gentleman who had obtained me a copy of my birth certificate. After weighing the parcel, the lady at the counter informed me of the postage. I was quite surprised to hear the cost. It wasn’t until she looked at the address properly that she realised that the parcel was for Uganda and not Canada! I ended up paying a lot more postage, in fact more than the cost of the chocolates! Still it was all worth it, specially when the friend wrote back to tell me how much his whole family had enjoyed the Swiss chocolates. The gentleman passed away a few months later, so I am really glad I did not hesitate to post the parcel despite the exorbitant cost. I am glad I heeded my own motto of ‘Grab the moment to thank someone for it might never come again’.
Forget WhatsApp, or the phone or the email….just write me a letter. I am waiting………
lots of love, hugs and kisses,