Thursday, 19 May 2016

A snail-mail project and a million questions!

I've always felt there is something sacred in a piece of paper that travels the earth from hand to hand, head to head, heart to heart.” 
Robert Michael Pyle
Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place

My past few posts have been dedicated to my zillion pastimes during six months long maternity leave and the importance of doing nothing once in a while. The initial days were all  about getting used to two kids in the house and their innumerable demands on mom's energy and time. After a while, however, life begins to follow a pattern and one is somewhat able to reflect on small acts of kindness and gestures of affection shown by family and friends which make life truly worth living. Given mine and A's mechanical home-office-home routine and our tendency to remain caught up in inanities of everyday life, often people/things that deserve heartfelt gratitude and need to be acknowledged go unreciprocated and after considerable time has elapsed, one is rather ashamed of expressing the same (with such delay) anymore.

Over the past few years, as me and A lived in separate cities (for a long time even separate states), life had become a constant effort to spend time together and many important things slipped past unnoticed and unacknowledged- whether it was our best friends' getting married and then having their first kids, or shifting out of places without saying thanks to the people who constantly supported us. Therefore, this time when we had the opportunity and the time, we decided to let all the fabulous people in our life know how much they mean to us. While my original intention was to make a handcrafted card for each recipient, it took no time to figure out that (given my zillion other preoccupations and being 'full-time' Mom to two tiny kids) the thank-you-card-idea would once again become an item on our wishlist only. Therefore, I decided to get two of my watercolors printed in the form of thank you cards (Thank God,for once the internet printing company delivered to a place like Pratapgarh) and shoot them immediately to our 'magic circle' of friends.However, getting everyone's postal address seemed to be a task in itself and I SMSed/Facebooked/Whatsapped everyone to send us their address please.

The most interesting part of the story is the variety of questions and responses that followed my request for postal address:

  • Majority of people enquired if we intend to visit them soon and much as I feel delighted with the idea, I had to politely convey my answer in a negative.
  • The other set was hopeful that am planning an event (to celebrate something) and perhaps intend to send an invite. For one, while postal invites are still the norm in our part of the country, Me and A did not even send our wedding cards to begin with and rely completely on paperless invitations till date!
  • Yet another interesting set had two subsets of its own. This comprised two people we are extremely open with and who wanted the full story before they would fish out their address. While one of them felt that only somebody as crazy as me could come up with this (and gladly complied), the other plainly refused to accept any Thank-Yous from me whatsoever.
  • Then there was yet another (largely international) set who cited 'operational difficulties' in receiving anything by post (like nobody at home to receive, shifting homes in the interim etc). Considering the difficulties at their end, I could never bring it upon myself to incur international postage charges without being sure if the post will ever even reach them.
  • Lastly, there were dear friends who chose to never respond to my request.
While it shouldn't be a surprise that (prima facie) the idea of receiving anything by post is rather difficult to digest,I was equally charmed by the responses to my request for people's home address (and hence this blog post!). However, for all the trouble that it is, as a dear friend warmly conveyed 'it struck the deepest chords of the Heart'. It was heartening to note that the post still works (and much faster now!) and most people were touched by the simple surprise. There are also a dozen cards still left to be sent for a multiplicity of reasons and I hope they too serve their intended purpose. Much as I have created a story out of the entire exercise, there is no judgement involved in doing so. Some of the dearest people in our lives couldn't be sent any card and as one of them remarked, they perhaps do not even need any. Yet, to each one of them, we owe tons of our happiness and gratitude.While the card could barely contain a few words, to most, I wish I could write tons and tell them how life would not have been the same without them.

Generally, people who are good at writing letters have no need to write letters. They've got plenty of life to lead inside their own context.” 
― Haruki Murakami, 
A Wild Sheep Chase

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