Sunday, April 6, 2008

Abandonment, letters and other things

This is really one of those “Random thoughts” posts that seem to show up on this blog with alarming frequency, but I am kind of tired of that title, hence the change. First up, abandonment. That is the sensation that my blog and feed reader would be feeling if they could. As the screenshot along side shows, I have been rather disconnected from my “cyberlife”. But that is because I have been reading! Not Attention-Deficit-Disorder-inducing blogs, but books and papers! It has been almost a year since I last read and I am having so much fun! First, I reread “Guns Germs and Steel”. Then, I read 15 papers that I had put together as essential reading for a new project that I have been meaning to get started for almost a year now. Now, I am reading “A Suitable Boy”, a book that has been on my reading list for a number of years now. This is fun!

And that leads me to the second random thought about letters. In the book, Mrs. Rupa Mehra is writing long letters on Inland letter sheets. I barely remember those now, though I recall that I used to write letters when I was in high school and the first couple of years in college. It used to be at that time that you opened your mailbox, or whatever was its equivalent (like the table on which all the residents’ letters were dumped on in the hostel), with anticipation of personal communication. Now I open my mailbox, with no feeling as I only get junk mail and a few bills that have not gone paperless yet. I personally do not feel any nostalgia for the written letter and am just as happy to receive long emails from long lost friends. But my thesis advisor, an old man that must have had more letter writing years than I have been alive, used to say that there is nothing like the written word on paper and he is never as happy with an email and he necessarily feels they are less meaningful. I put it down to conditioning. We are always reluctant to accept any change are n’t we? Times have changed. In my parents’ time, calligraphy and penmanship were considered invaluable skills and the ability to spell was important. But now, who cares as long as you know how to use the spell checker in your favorite word processing software?

Well, on that note I shall sign off with promise to return with more meaningful posts in the near future. Hope you are all having fun too!

8 comments:

bongopondit said...

Is that an Inland ? Looks like the internatinal version of the Inland (it was called Aerogram ?). The Inland had a more complicated olfding pattern.

But great memories of those snail mail days - especially the hostel mail table :) !

'Guns, Germs and Steel' is a great read.

CuriousCat said...

Bongo: I got that image from the indiapost.gov website. Apparently this is how it looks since 2002. We would not know for sure and I was surprised too!

Also, yes, G-G-S is a great read. This is my second time reading it, in preparation for reading other jarod diamond books actually.

And thanks so much for stopping by! Good that I am still on your feed reader inspite of dormancy!

tangled said...

That's what they look like, yes. I sent four of them last year to friends all over India.
All of them replied be email. :D

tangled said...

*by, dammit.

CuriousCat said...

That is what you get for trying to be nice and using the written word these days!!:)

CuriousCat said...

That is what you get for trying to be nice and using the written word these days!!:)

Mohan K.V said...

I randomly stumbled by your blog, and found this post really nice. I'm strongly biased towards letters :-)

CuriousCat said...

Welcome Mohan ji. And you say you still write letters and receive them? Wow! And will stumble right back onto your blog(s) to get acquainted! Cool mechanics problems on one I see...