16 January 2022

Longstanding project completed

Original plan was to use the downtime during year end to get all the handwritten letters that I still have neatly organized by person and in chronological fashion. Of course, Covid took my year end away. However, with the long weekend here, I finally got it done.

Some of the letters are from 1984! The “inland letters” of India are ready to just crumble up. Had to use a lot of caution to restore them. You can see some of the olden days “postcards” too.

The earliest letter is from my dad in 1984 followed by my best friend Avijit Bose’s. The latest one is from Madhuri Agrawal from Singapore from a few weeks back.

Some of the letters from my parents were too difficult for me to hold my tears back.

I told Sharmila about my project.

“I have organized the letters that I still have and some of the ones that I wrote”
“How do you have letters that you wrote?”
“Well, for international letters, I take a photocopy. Just in case they get lost, I email the photocopy to the recipient later.”

“How come you do not write any letters to me anymore?” was her next question.
“You used to write to me before marriage. How come you write to others still but not to me?”
“Why would I write to you? We live under the same roof. Moreover, we are on talking terms.”

Apparently, that did not convince her.

Maybe that Covid-time realization on silence might be not too futile after all.

I can foresee a day when she would ask me “How was dinner?”
Vowed to silence, I would furtively pen a letter and mail it. (BTW, our new house is bang opposite the post office.)
She can open up the wax sealed envelope a few days later and read out loudly “Needed a little more salt!” Or something like that!!!

6 November 2021

A nerd’s dream come true

As if writing full page letters – on monogrammed paper and with fountain pens – and then sealing the envelope with wax and a personal seal was not nerdy enough, I think I have managed to take it to the next level of nerdiness. Now I have 24 different colors of wax beads, a formal set up to melt the wax (no more of the candle version – you actually heat up the wax beads in a small spoon over a tealight candle) and highlighter pens to accentuate the seal.

It is a sheer irony that to show you all these forms of archaic communication, I have to use the internet and social media platforms like Facebook 🙂

Okay, now I need all of you to call me for dinner or lunch at your place. I need to write a lot of thank you letters to try out all the different colors of wax!

16 October 2021

Saturday winding down

(To) Mere mehboob ne wada kiya hai
Paanchve din ka
(Aare) Kisi se sun liya hoga
Yeh duniya chaar din ki hai.

Roughly translated…

(So) She has promised to meet me
On the fifth day from today
(Perhaps) She also has heard from others that
This life is only for four days

(As a cultural context, “duniya chaar din ki hai” literally means that this world is for four more days… the point being life is only for a few short days more)

8 October 2021

My first wax seal!!

If you found my fascination for fountain pens to be too quirky, this will make me seem even more weird. The background is the following – I was visiting the Dallas Fountain Pen show with Larry a few weeks back when I ran into a person who was selling wax seals. He taught me how to put a wax seal on an envelope.

Came back home and sent him my personal logo (the one you see in the picture in yellow and blue). It took me years to settle on this logo. Eventually, sitting at the bar of Milton’s Cuisines with Sharmila one Sunday night, I had hit upon this design – it has two “r”s – for my initials.

A week later, I had my first personalized wax seal delivered. Now, not only can I write letters with fountain pens, I can put a wax seal too to complete the totally archaic process of communicating. Now, if only I could find a compliant pigeon… 🙂

(BTW, you can spot a newbie error straightaway: I had not aligned the seal correctly with the direction of the envelope flap!)