The Lost Art of Writing Letters

A cathartic literary form is obsolete now. Yet, letters must be written so we can make sense of our lives

Published: 04th August 2015 07:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2015 07:47 AM   |  A+A-


Dear reader... Nothing can beat the joy of reading a good book if you discount the thrill of receiving a beautiful letter you have been waiting for all your life. I have always loved letters but in my young life, I have only received two letters and written one. When I was younger, I’d write long letters to just about anybody. Then  I’d carefully re-write them, tuck them into an envelope and keep them between the pages of my school textbook. Somehow I was never satisfied with what I wrote. There was always a line I thought was not written well, a word that had been misspelled.  Sometimes, it seemed too personal or too formal.  And between all the proof-reading,  the letters never got sent. It might amuse you to know that I had even written to the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, but a piece of  paper only becomes a letter, if it gets sent. Sadly mine just remained a draft.

I want to write so many letters. About religion, about God, about love, about writing, about me, but a tiny part is scared about being judged.  A tiny part is ashamed of what I write. A tiny part of me doesn’t want you to read this. But the need to write just doesn’t go away, no matter how much I procrastinate and  try to shut my brain. Sometimes, I just want to write it all down on a paper and throw it in the sea, watch it sail away, knowing that even if someone finds it and reads it, they’ll never know who wrote it.

Writing can be cathartic. Reading can be cathartic too and that is why books are written and read. The same is true for letters.  And I want to write a few because I want to purge myself of an emotion that is a combination of anxiety, sorrow, pain and confusion.

Dear reader, in my young life, I’ve come to realise that people are inherently not happy. Joy isn’t an everyday emotion. However, the above mentioned amalgamation seems to be common. Why is it that peace is so difficult to find, but sorrow can just walk in? A lot of our lives are turning out to be like the rough drafts of my letters.  They seem perfect on one day. On the next, it all just gets rewritten or thrown away. I wish all of us get the lives we dream of, the love we wish for and the happy in-betweens  than the cliched ending.  This letter is just a reminder that what you’re going through now, someone else is too. There’s always more than one person laughing or crying at the same time in this world. So start writing your letters, and who knows, someday you might even receive an answer.

Sandra David blogs at


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