Our son was chatting with me via WhatsApp while on one of his weekend excursions that are a part of his study abroad program. While updating me on his adventures, he casually mentioned that he just got back after dropping some postcards at the post office. Wow! I had almost forgotten about postcards!
Now I am not going nostalgic, but its changed so much that I hardly receive letters anymore. Not that I received many (they were mostly bills for utilities), but I still enjoy ripping open an envelope to reach to the contents inside.
Many years ago, before email and text messaging took over the world of personal communications, I remember going to the stationers to look for special onion skin paper which was very light and weighed less at the posts. It is not so much the letter itself, but the fact that it was usually handwritten which lent a personal touch to the communication. I lived away from my family for a few years, and would pack my letter paper with updates… the paper would look messy, but my wife and the little kids enjoyed reading, or rather deciphering through the scrawl.
I make it a point to post all my Christmas cards – that’s the one time I want the real thing to reach the homes of those I love. It’s not that I will not use email greetings or text messages, but I am convinced that Christmas warrants a real card. Don’t forget, they add to the Christmas decor too!
What really prompted me to write this post was the fact that I passed by a mail box in one of the back alleys. I was quite surprised that these still exist. I seriously think I will test its service by dropping a test envelope to myself!
There is also the subject of philately – stamp collecting at a professional level. If the use of the postal services continues to drop, that pursuit will gradually fade into oblivion and so will stamps, and the friendly neighbourhood postman.
What has caused this gradual transition from ‘snail mail’ to online mail is something answered by thousands of articles that one can read on the web. But what is certainly worrying me (and many like-minded persons, I hope) is that even the messaging on the social media channels has come down to Netlingo or a form of shorthand.
Now, I would not really like to receive a message like this:
Hello! jst thawt of writiN 2 U & letN U knO wot iz hapNn n my Lyf.
I would rather it was:
Hello! Just thought of writing to you and letting you know what is happening in my life.
We often mistakenly term these short forms as acronyms, but they are really shorthand used while text messaging or IMing. What’s most irritating is those messages you get in all capitals – incidentally, that’s called ‘shouting,’ and I don’t see any reason for that – my eyesight is still pretty good.
Whatever be my views, people these days, especially teens are texting more than ever. To a newcomer it may seem like a jumble of seemingly disconnected letters, numbers, and odd punctuation. But for those in the know, it makes real sense. The net has hundreds of sites that list thousands of phrases that are entered in shorthand while texting. But why may I ask. Why can’t we at least type the real thing? The new QWERTY keyboards may be a pain, but they help giving predictive text options and auto correct. Or you can swipe across the keys.
Seems I am rambling on, and no one will pay much attention to an obsessive old-timer. I say, let’s keep these postal letters going, even if they take forever to reach.
Because honestly, this appeal is FTBOMH…
From The Bottom Of My Heart!