TheCalmDev (Dev J Haldar)

ravings, rantings and ramblings

The Blue ‘Inland’ Letter

I miss the fact that I do not receive letters any more. There was an inexplicable sense of anticipation and breathlessness upon receiving a light blue-coloured inland letter or a mustard coloured postcard. I preferred inland letters over postcards, purely based on the anticipation bit. Postcards were far too public for my liking and had a lot less space. I liked long letters.

I used to receive long letters from my grandfather. I miss my grandfather a lot. He was the one man I used to look up to, in the wider family. He was the one man, I felt answerable to. He was the one man, I always wanted him to be proud of me. My (maternal) grandfather was fond of writing. He has a great control over the two languages he knew – English and Bengali. He would challenge me with his prose and I would challenge him back. One day would be a new word and the next time would be a new spelling. It gathered momentum during my summer holidays. He would be peering into his tattered dictionary, that he so prized and I would flip through mine. We were 1,441 kilometres apart; and those letters connected us.

His letters would look like calligraphy lessons. His alphabets were happy and ‘well-fed’. My father would show me the intricacies of ‘trunks’ and ‘tails’ in handwriting. Both dad and I have a good hand (no way to tell on a keyboard) and sometimes it was hard to tell who wrote what! I used to draft my letters before writing to my grandfather. Dad would proof-read my drafts, so that there were no grammatical mistakes or ‘typos’. Then I would use my favourite pen to write that on paper and post it to him. I used paper and envelope and usually grandfather would use those inland letters.

As the years piled on his shoulders, his alphabets buckled a little under them. The ‘trunks‘ would be a bit wobbly and the ‘tails’ would be short. The dark blue jotter ink would dance in a ‘justified’ way (in MS Word parlance). The letters were a bit shorter in length.

And then, one day he died. And with it, died the blue inland letter.


11 comments on “The Blue ‘Inland’ Letter

  1. kany22
    August 19, 2011

    you are so right, the emails have no charm that letters used to have, the sense of anticipation and excitement… lingering warm and sweet scent of loved one on it…the stain of tears…cherishing all letters like treasure… and reading it over and over again…a bygone era.

  2. Dev J Haldar aka Calmdev
    August 19, 2011

    It was all too personal Kanwal! And remember the time, when we would wait for a letter to reach us? 🙂 Miss it all!

  3. Shailesh Shetty
    August 19, 2011

    nice one.. just reminded the blue inland letters. thanks

  4. Dev J Haldar aka Calmdev
    August 19, 2011

    Letter writing is now a lost art Shailesh!

  5. vibhabhatt
    August 19, 2011

    it reminded me of my student days in mumbai studying for CA..staying alone and every afternoon wtg for the postman ki cycle ghanti and hoping ke aaaj toh ek letter zaroor ayega .. The joy of seeing one blue inland letter tht he would slide through the door (never had the guts to open d door and wait for the postman at d door) the joy of reading and re reading those lettters .. No words to explain.. Reading d above blog just took me back in time .. Really miss these handwrittten letters .. thnk u for reminding me those times which r now lost never 2 comeback ..

  6. Dev J Haldar aka Calmdev
    August 20, 2011

    🙂 More than the letters, I miss my grandfather!

  7. vibha bhatt
    August 21, 2011

    Yes Dev the person who wrote is always more missed and wht he wrote becomes more significant and more meaningful in his absence.. Their smell, their smile their touch are more strongly felt in those letters .. Earlier just the tthought of they being around was comforting now only the touch on those letters are so comforting .. I may not be gud wid words but I know exactly wht it means 🙂

  8. kany22
    August 21, 2011

    Frankly speaking i have never seen or received “blue inland” letter, being born and brought up in Dubai, but as a child we were encouraged to write letters in Urdu to embrace and polish our native language and writing skills, the only person i had to initiate this was my maternal grandma, being a wife of Ambassador, she used to travel a lot and only way to stay connected with her was through letters… rest you can very much relate to your experiences and relationship with your grandfather… Fortunately my grandma is still in good health but the technologies like email, skype and cellphones have vanished the practice of hand written letters and how dearly i wish that we could go back to that time again…

  9. Dev J Haldar aka Calmdev
    August 21, 2011

    Thank you Kanwal! Yes, letters are lost in time. The joy of writing a letter cannot be explained in words. That apart, I am happy that your grandma is healthy. Grand relations are truly grand 🙂
    As for letter-writing, what can I say… even a pen-pal club wouldnt help now, I guess. What say?

  10. Subho
    August 30, 2011

    Excellent blog, Dev! I miss the inland letter… I have some from my father preserved in my old trunk.

  11. Dev J Haldar aka Calmdev
    August 30, 2011

    Thank you Dada! I can only imagine how you feel…

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