kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Dearest, Your words caress me

A LONG time ago life and love came in an envelope and rested a little while in the postbox and made themselves all the more sweeter. So eager were we to touch them and to love them back.

Now, only bills, flyers and notices, of which very little or nothing is pretty, and which in totality makes for much travesty (i.e. to the environment), take their place in the space. I do not desire nor detest them, but come they must, for such things are needed by commerce and the administrators of our life.

It must be obvious, but is it not? It is the letter written by the kindred spirit that I miss, the other documents are just -- things.

As good as a love song.

This letter spoke of friendship and fondness, of troubles and triumphs, of happiness and heartaches. Much thought, and heart, did go into the words that danced so elegantly with little twists and turns on the single-lined sheet. I knew this to be true because I felt and breathed them.

It could have been from a pen-pal, an aunt, uncle or girlfriend. Even a teacher. For me, it was all of them. They wrote to me, and I, with great pleasure, to them.

Here is a doggerel from me that went to a faraway fair maid in one such aerogramme.

Are you to be seen only in words?

Can not a photo be mine to keep?

Hah! The masters were incomparably and infinitely better. Churchill married Clementine in 1908, and in 1935 wrote to her what a woman must want to hear from her man. If only I had an ounce of his wit.

Thus he went: "My darling Clemmie, in your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love... What it has been to me to live all these years in your heart and companionship no phrases can convey."

Such is the enchantment of the letter of the heart. But greater than charm was at work in the life of the great theologian, Paul, whose epistles bristle with affection and not a small bit of righteous anger. Many did he write, and much did he convey, and more still does he change. With tender words like "Your lives are a letter written in our hearts", we cannot be surprised.

The great souls, whose numbers are too few among us, surely did not write to those whom they cared for in delightful and delicious prose to gain fame. They were so unlike my beloved Calvin, who told Hobbes what may be the big dreams of many little men: "As a genius, it's important that I write a lot of letters. After all, my correspondence will be the basic resource material for historians to reconstruct my life. My writing will provide countless fascinating insights for biographers."

But dear Calvin, the spring of the handwritten letter is long gone. Its fragrant words and little winks and telling warmth are passing into winter, where the telegram now lies shrivelled and silent.

The usurpers, the modern masters of the day -- SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook and whatnot -- are fast and fantastic.

I am in all of them but they are not in me. And for one who wanders in two worlds, unwillingly and many times unhappily, I cannot imagine them producing wonderful and beautiful insights into the heart of man or woman. For the reader or for posterity.

For the electronic words are too many, and too lacking, and too fast. They come and go swifter than the moon allows the tides, than what is natural. Old minds such as mine can scarce feel or comprehend anything in them.

And will we keep our emails, anyway? Will we remember to return to one such gem many years later, to dust the surface and to see what dwells within? Will that even be possible?

That's why I prefer to hold on to the letters, still crisp and clean, sent to me by friends and maids. In the twilight of my days, which I consider to be anytime between now and death, I shall look at them as often as possible. For they are not binary 1s and 0s, but full of life and love.

By David Christy | Source:  New Straits Times Columnist - Dearest, Your words caress me - 15 July 2012

Tags: words, writings

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