One day a couple of weeks ago, my doorbell rang and I opened the door to a very happy postman handing me a white envelope. He wasn’t delivering couriered mail. It was post. Snail mail. A sight, a person and a service I haven’t seen or used in forever.
I was immediately taken aback, convinced he had the wrong house. But the envelope had my name. And then I noticed it was addressed via Hungry & Excited. This got me really curious, and I could hardly wait until I had walked back up the stairs and ripped it open. Only to find it was a greeting card, and it was blank. Unnamed, not signed off and very, very confusing. It was only much later that I thought to check the envelope more closely. I did, and I had a name! Frantic googling and fb searching and some intelligent deductions ensued, and when I thought I had zeroed in on the right candidate, I sent out an fb message giving thanks for the gesture, but asked what had brought it on. I didn’t hear back, so I assumed that either the message was lying unnoticed in that blasted “others” folder, or I had got the wrong person. Either way, I was upset. Because I was touched, even though I wasn’t sure what I had done to deserve a greeting card smack in the middle of the year, but upset that I couldn’t give back in some way.
About ten days later, the event repeated itself. The postman showed up at my door again. Another white envelope with the same beautiful handwriting. Addressed to me, via Hungry & Excited. What is going on here?! This time around I received another greeting card. With a note. The words were simple, the note short. And yet, reading it moved me almost to tears because it was a thank-you from someone who reads the blog.
It’s at moments like these that I am shaken out of my smug world and humbled. The tears, I realised much later were a result of being overwhelmed at receiving the warmth and affection of a complete stranger from halfway across the globe and not knowing what I did to deserve it, along with realising that this silly space here might actually have meant something to someone apart from me. That the blog inspired her to cook, bake and more importantly feel better in a difficult time meant a lot to me.
I make no bones in admitting that I blog for purely selfish reasons. I have so much to say, and if I didn’t blog I’d chew my husbands ears off, so I mostly think of this as a good vent to do it. It gives me joy, allows me to flex my writing muscles and let’s face it, gives me a completely self-centred kind of pleasure. There are moments when I hit publish and know that in writing that post, I am incredibly alone. There are some things I write that I know nobody will get. Some things do not warrant reactions, even. So to receive this kind of affection and to know that my rambling has made a little difference somewhere, blows my mind just a little.
Some times I receive emails out of the blue, from people I don’t know personally. People who read my blogs and reach out to share thoughts on a particular post, some times it is to voice a different opinion, some times to give thanks, some times just to say hello. I’ve done it too, with many bloggers that had touched my life in some way. Some of these turn into interactions, and many have turned into relationships that are more active off the blog and in real life today.
Time and again, I am amazed by the fact that a little blip in cyberspace that I don’t take very seriously has the potential to connect me to people in this manner. I suppose, because we go back time and again to the blogs that interest us, it is most often that we gravitate towards the people we feel that inexplicable connect with.
Once gain, I am overwhelmed by the power of the internet. And of the ability of words to cut through and reach out to someone at a level that goes beyond just reading a page on a website. It’s how I have ended up corresponding for a few years with some of my favourite bloggers before we ended up meeting in person. Those meeting were inconsequential because the relationship felt like we had known each other forever. It is how I have made some of the nicest friends through the blog. I used to be the kind of girl who was surrounded by male friends, and today the number of women in my life is thriving. My circle of fellowship is so different from what it used to be. I have the blog to thank for this.
The incident also made me realise just how long it had been since I had put pen to paper and written out a good old chitthi. I’m so used to hyper connectivity, getting immediate and pithy reactions to everything, sending short texts to say big things, and using emojis to my advantage when words fail me (and also sometimes when I’m too bored to type). It has been forever since I stopped to say thanks. Express how grateful I am for some of the people in my life. So instantly, I decided to take on a 30-day project. I’ve decided to write 30 letters over 30 days, and send them out old-school style. Just because I feel like it.
This brilliant idea was also compounded by the fact that after days of procrastinating over couriering off some documents because I had run out of stationary, I restocked my envelopes and added in a few happy coloured pens and writing paper to the stash. The joy of crisp letter paper and green ink still makes me happy, evidently.
Last weekend, I went to the local post-office to post the first batch of letters. After a little shuffling about, I had to sheepishly ask the old man behind the counter how I could send the stack of envelopes out. But because I’m so used to jumping at the quickest possible route, I had already said, Speed Post! even before the poor man could respond. But the kind chap that he was, took a look at the stack of letters and guessed it was nothing earth shatteringly important. Since they were just plain old letters, advised me to use 5 rupee stamps, one on each envelope and be done with it. Speed post apparently costs Rs 39 for a basic envelope. Just the day before, I had spent Rs 250 couriering a simple envelope to a client in Bombay, so to have been able to mail out seven letters for almost 1/8th that cost gave me a thrill. I licked the stamps, pressed them onto the envelopes and felt a special kick slipping them into the red post box, and was happy the project had taken off to a good start. If nothing, at least I know I haven’t forgotten what it is like to post a letter.
The past week has been a little more challenging because there was a lot of other stuff happening which has made daily letter writing a bit difficult. So I have decided to write when I have pockets of time, even if that means I don’t write for days and then write four letters in one day. As long as I finish my 30 letters in 30 days, we’re good.
Here’s what I noticed
– My handwriting really fluctuates, and is not as consistent and well formed as it used to be
– The more I wrote, the easier it got physically. It was almost like I had to get myself used to writing again
– Some times I had a person in mind, but since we are in touch a lot I didn’t have a lot of things to write about. But as I wrote, amazingly, I found just the thing to write about which made perfect sense for each individual person
– I first thought thinking of 30 people would be a bit of a task, but it was rather easy arriving at those 30 people that I want to write to and my list is now complete
If I were doing the 100HappyDays challenge, this would account for several days of happy.