Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lost and Found...

A few months back I received an envelope, addressed to me, by snail mail...it took me about half a second to determine who it was from…it was from a dear cousin, R, who lives in London. In addition to regularly keeping in touch with her via email and phone calls, I always look forward to receiving these letters/cards (she has this way of finding these unflashy, beautiful, elegant cards, hand-painted on recycled paper for a social cause) from her with D and my names clearly etched on top of the envelope in her beautiful, cursive handwriting...

As far back as I can remember, she has never forgotten to send handwritten messages/cards on all special occasions, and postcards from places they are visiting, sharing an unknown trivia about a new place they have been exploring ... and I, for one, really look forward to receiving these...

This time around, when I opened the envelope, what I found was a note from her announcing the arrival of "The New Sheriff in Town", her second son, along with photo prints of family pictures with her two adorable kids, husband and my aunt ( her mom)....Of course, I had spoken to her 'n' number of times after the little one's birth and she had already shared these photographs with me on snapfish...but that handwritten message and the photograph prints, for some weird reason, evoked a medley of emotions...I can't explain the cause or the source of what I felt...but it evoked an urge to give her a big, warm hug...

In this perennial mad rush and rat race for the next big change in life, technology, career, advancement...as we've transitioned from reading printed books to listening to audio books…from writing letters to emails to texting to sharing what's happening in our lives through status messages on social networking sites…from bonding with pen pals through letters written in our own handwriting to being instantly gratified by new online pals with information about various cultures, through shared online photographs and messages ...from writing diaries to writing blogs...I think I know what we've found, but there is definitely something precious we've lost as well...

In audio books, I have found a good substitute to satiate my reading needs given the mad rush I am always in during the work week, while trying to deal with a long commute to work combined with the need to strike a good balance between office workload, household chores and spending quality time with D….what I’ve realized I miss, however, is the touch and feel of printed words on paper…the charm of lying down on the couch, having a cup of tea or coffee, sitting and becoming captured by the pages of a book, turning them one by one, getting more and more engrossed as the climax builds …I miss not being able to emphasize , interpret and visualize words and phrases like I would want to, and having instead to rely on the readers' discretionary emphasis on words and phrases, which I feel has a direct impact on the interpretation and visualization of sentences in a book.

In all the latest technological gadgets and electronic paraphernalia (email, texting, chatting, VOIP), that facilitate instant communication with near and dear ones, I have found solace in the knowledge that despite being physically thousands of miles away, loved ones are virtually just a click away…what I miss, however, is communication through the art of calligraphy, handwriting as an artform, which by itself has the ability to add a lot of meaning and expression to mere words…

In all the online social networking sites and blogs, I have found ways to reconnect with old pals and discover new ones….I have found ways to enrich my life with shared online travelogues, life experiences and photographs of old friends and new…I have found ways that make me revel in not having to memorize and remember the birthdays and special occasions of ‘n’ close friends, happy in the knowledge that early in the morning of the special day, I will be duly prompted by pop ups in one of the social networking sites to wish the person concerned…what I miss , however, is that postcard that someone close would send to share tid bits of travel experiences…what I miss is being one of the first ones to know about a birth in the family , about a snippet of good news in a friends life, before it is broadcasted to the whole world as a facebook status message ;-)….what I miss is that feeling of being special that comes with the knowledge that someone close was not prompted but remembered an occasion close to your heart, and put an extra effort to make you feel really special by posting a card that would reach you just in time for ‘the day’ celebrations…

Yes, yes folks…everything, in the above context, that I miss and feel I have lost, is extremely non “go green” friendly…but I miss these simple pleasures of life, nevertheless…and the funny thing is that I say all this, while I am fascinated by and revel in the kind of easy connectivity, planning ability, portable entertainment, fun, efficiency that gadgets like the iphone, blackberry etc. facilitate…hmmm…hypocrite you may say :-)…but not really I guess, it’s just that in the circle of life, whether you like it or not, you lose something to find something else…

9 comments:

SBora said...

u r right..we are so obsessed with technology ..a catch 22 we love what it does for us but at what cost...the human touch, sentiment is lost. one of the things i miss most are handwritten letters...i write letters to folks back home but i type them in my laptop....no wonder my handwriting has gone to the dogs..
it is a shame..really

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

@Rimjhim ba: Thanks for checking in...yep, as far as my own handwriting is concerned, it's really a similar story...it's literally gone to the dogs...sad, but true...

Raginee said...

In audio books, I have found a good substitute to satiate my reading needs given the mad rush I am always in during the work week, while trying to deal with a long commute to work combined with the need to strike a good balance between office workload, household chores and spending quality time with D….what I’ve realized I miss, however, is the touch and feel of printed words on paper…the charm of lying down on the couch, having a cup of tea or coffee, sitting and becoming captured by the pages of a book, turning them one by one, getting more and more engrossed as the climax builds …I miss not being able to emphasize , interpret and visualize words and phrases like I would want to, and having instead to rely on the readers' discretionary emphasis on words and phrases, which I feel has a direct impact on the interpretation and visualization of sentences in a book.
.....What a perfect penning down ...Just that I was trying to recall your handwriting while I read through....Life takes some to give some....No wonder I still love penning down my lines in my handwriting, in spite of typing them on my lappy....I m happy I find myself reasonable when I read this....Good one Priyanka....

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

@Rags:Thanks so much for checking in...am so glad that you continue actually writing down notes and thoughts instead of just typing stuff...am sure looking back at them a couple of years down the line will be a gratifying experience...As far as my handwriting is concerned, given it's current state, it's hard to recognize my writings of those glorious school days as my own.
:-((...am hoping though that you've managed to nurture that beautiful handwriting of yours :-)

GNSD said...

You win some you loose some. I do remember ages ago, when my dad would visit some other country,a nd we would sit by the phone for the "trunk call" we had placed hours ago. Now if he travels, we know exactly where he is, thanks to emails and calling cards.. Everything is within reach.
I remember on his return from those long international trips.. we would be impatient in the car to pick him up from teh airports.. waiting to meet him..a nd of course waiting for the chocolates in his hand baggage.. and our hand written lists of things he MUST buy for us..... Now we know, we will email him the list, he will print it, check it off and reply with stating things he is carryin or not. That anxiety in our minds is no longer there.. the excitement still exists... techonology like most other things is a double edge swords!
I procastrinated for over a year, to get on FB..a nd now that i am there... cant get off it!
Do i really care if you are "having a masala burger in bbay on a rainy day"..... probably not.. but i would love to share the "yummy moms cooked meals in Chi town!"
Unintresting tid bits.. but it connects ppl.. long lost frinds and helps u keep in touch with the new ones....There is a reason why the newly increased stamp prices dont affect most of us.
And yes, i do miss the old simple letters from my dad and mom when we were far away from them.. our long letters with friends from out of town..may be thats what prompted me to make V's 1st year b-day cards.. as an evite and a hand made invitation.. for may be once.. she will consider this as an antique form of art when she grows up.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

@Garima: Yep Absolutely...I hear you ...am sure V will cherish and gratifyingly look back at her first year bday invitation cards...

Subhadra said...

Well said Priyanka... I remember the times when I used to get so many snail mails while at college, my postman told me a letter will reach me if my name and the pincode alone are there on it... Indeed the news reach faster, but the personal touch is what matters.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Thanks Subhs...keep checking out your blog...Teach For India and the work you guys are doing is inspirational !!

NetworkedBlogs said...

Pramod Sanoor Aug 9

Well written! How are you guys doing ? and how are BG and Meghana? Not heard from them in a long time ! I am also writing a postcard with the same questions...expect that in 2 weeks :)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Priyanka Rajkhowa Aug 9

LOL :-)...Thanks anyways...We are doing well...are you still travelling to DC /Northern Virginia frequently...we should def catch up whenever you are in the area...BG and Meghna are doing great...they may have some good news for all of us soon...
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sangeeta Barua Aug 10

very well written chintu...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Priyanka Rajkhowa Aug 10

Thanks Simi ba...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Urvashi Shah Aug 10

so true and very will written.. i think about it all the time. in fact I can feel the exact same way, and couldn't have put it in a better way...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Priyanka Rajkhowa Aug 10
Thanks so much Urvashi...