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The lost art of letter writing

‘Pen is mightier than sword’ – this is true and letter writing is an art. In the days of android phones, email, and text messages, letter writing seems to be hopelessly outdated. But it is an art worth bringing back, and not because of some misplaced sense of nostalgia either. The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you are eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice.

Sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope. And something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in your friend’s mailbox. Letters create a connection that modern, impersonal forms of communication will never approach.

Letter writing definitely is an art. Having experience in writing letters in all the news dailies of India and all the magazines, I feel proud of my hobby and taste for letter writing. We really enjoyed the art of letter writing for nearly 70 years since our independence. Even though E-mail and electronic devices are there to communicate, the art of letter writing has never diminished. By the click of the mouse it is possible to send messages all over the world to friends and relatives. But still the joy of posting a handwritten letter to your friend, relative or parents is really enthralling.

The world has been brought closer, but the pleasure of writing letters with pen and paper and the eagerness to receive the letters and our expectation of their arrival are gradually diminishing. We now think of digital world, the excitement of letter writing is missing and we are losing many close friendships; also love and community feeling/bonding are losing their intensity slowly and steadily.

Post Cards played a pivotal role in conveying the messages in a short and crisp manner. Inland letters helped us in the past to convey detailed information in a closed form. Some more details can be sent through a closed cover with an attachment. Even though courier and speed posts are available now, the real joy of reading a post card written in small letters to squeeze as many words as possible within the available space is an art.

When a letter is sent to letters to the editor column of a news daily the caption carries more weight. With the caption, the writer can expand his thoughts and that will provide a greater impact on readers. Attractive catchy captions play a long way in providing the best chance to carry the day as the day’s top letter.

Steady stream of ideas should flow from the mind to express the views in an impressive way. Good language also plays a pivotal role. The subject preferred should be of current topic and that carries weight in the media in the recent past and people follow that particular event in a very big way.

Free flow of language adds to the repertoire of letter writing. Forceful thoughts should touch the heart and soul of the people and instead of criticising the views expressed by the writer, the people to read in between the lines and observe the finer points in a simple way.

The writer should play to gallery while expressing the views on sensitive subjects.  Freedom of press should not be violated in any way and make the points very clear without any ambiguity. Clear mind and clear thought will flow in the early morning hours and a tired mind may not help the writer to bring out his thoughts in an appropriate way.

The views expressed by the writer should be thought provoking and unique. The readers are tired of reading stereo type of letters on various subjects in the past. The thoughts and views should carry vital information, thus giving the much needed weight and last for long time in the system in news media.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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