Chitthi Aayi Hain..

Those were the days when STD rates were so high that one had to wait for Non-peak hours to speak to someone who was not in the same town. Those were the days when Internet was never heard of, and PCOS and Coin Boxes were everywhere.
Even though this description makes one think that I am talking about the Pre-Independence era, I am talking about 1980’s which feels like a distant past.
We were based in Mumbai, but all my relatives and cousins were based here, in South India. We were a huge group of cousins and hence had lot to share. So we wrote letters to each other regularly. I was the happiest when I received a fat yellow envelop, page after page filled with sentiments,confessions and general gossip. I was amongst the youngest of my cousins, so mostly I used to read about their college days, flings and crushes. My Ajji and Taata ( Grandparents) sent letters to my mom every now and then, and my mom read and re-read those letters over and over again. Since I could not read-write Kannada, I could never write to my Grandparents. In those blue inland letters a lot was said and even though they tried to fit in every thing, used smallest of the fonts, somethings were always left out hence they had to write on the margin as well. Those were the days, when a trip to post office to buy envelops and stamps and inland letters was a must.
I loved to write, and when I started writing I lost the count of time, words and pages I filled in. Mostly it would be advise to my older cousins about their so called love life or other issues. On birthdays and special occasions it would be greeting cards with a lot of stickers on it. Some of my older cousins sent a fifty rupee note tucked inside the greeting card and we exchanged film-postcards regularly.
Aroma of the fresh inland letter was so compelling that every time my mom got a bunch of it, I wanted to start writing immediately. Those were the days of Code-names. Sometimes, suspicious parents went thru our letters, hence we had to use Code-names while referring to some special people.
My letter writing was not only restricted to my cousins, but every time I came down to Bangalore for summer vacations, I used to write to my Best friend Tina.
Last time, when I went home, I opened my treasure of letters, which is one suitcase full and overflowing. I went thru greeting cards and post cards, and felt a great sense of longing.
Today, when everyone is just a phone call away, we do not feel the same kind of bonding. I can see everyone of Facebook, and regularly receive updates from every one. But its not the same anymore, and I feel lost at times.
I am not against modernization or progress of any kind. This is the era of instant communication and I am grateful to be a part of this new world.
But there is part of me, which still craves for those days, when nothing was Instant, everything took time, but those memories last forever!

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