I was visiting my roommate’s studio in Bandstand, Bandra (Mumbai) which he runs in partnership.
He had directed me that it’s located a little ahead of Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s apartment and just before Shahrukh Khan’s bungalow ‘mannat’.
As I was walking following the assigned house numbers and their names, one particular name struck me. The address reminded me of somebody. We had exchanged hand written letters for years thousands of miles away from each other and she had even sent me personal photographs of her. Though the contents of the letters were pretty plain, they used to steam so much goodwill. Now as I stand in front of the gate with that familiar address I started feeling nostalgic. I also saw the coconut groves which reminded of her photographs’ backdrop. She was my pen friend of so many years which we ultimately lost contact.
I grew up in a small town in Manipur in an eastern corner of
As a teenager, I found a magazine called ‘Teenager’ which I subscribed through my school. It is here that I found my penpals. Sometimes I used to get 20-30 letters of them. But only a handful of them lasted. Everyone had sent me their pictures and though their faint images are still engraved in my mind, it seems like ages and their memories have faded into oblivion. In fact the classic era of pen friends have elapsed from my memory until one day I stood in Bandstand, Bandra (Mumbai).
Those letters how far they have come from, they always used to bring the personal human touch in them. Good handwriting, big bold letters, unreadable scribbles, personalized artworks, letters in all shapes and sizes duly stamped. Now I remember my friend in Bandstand used to write in big bold letters, according to handwriting experts is a sign of self-confidence.
While in college, the internet revolution trickled in. Email, chatting, instant messages brought a sad demise to my pen friends. My letters became fewer by the day. My last pen friend was from
After graduation while in
These are the days of making connections, networking, bonding whatever form they may be; professionally or personally. We have Hi5, orkut, twitter, myspace, facebook, bigadda where people doll up all sorts of pictures and personal statements. You don’t know who are real and who the real crooks are. No real name, no specific address, no personalized revelation of self but only an electronic manifestation of what the cyber founders want you to be in matrix.
That day as I stood there in Bandstand, Bandra (Mumbai), I felt nostalgic. I started missing my pen friends and their letters from far away. Those letters how far they have come from, they always used to bring the personal human touch in them. Good handwriting, big bold letters, unreadable scribbles, personalized artworks, letters in all shapes and sizes duly stamped.
As I remember them now, maybe my old pen friends will one day see my films or read about me in some magazines or newspapers and remember me.
~OINAM DOREN is a writer / filmmaker who is fulfilling his childhood dreams of making connections with different cultures and races.