It’s The Write Time
How the Indian Postal Service is here to create history and not become another chapter in the Indian History Books
India Post is the world’s largest postal network, whose reach extends to all of over 28 crore households in the country. It takes a range of postal, financial and insurance products closer to residents. But with the internet providing efficient ways of keeping in touch like email, instant messaging, video chatting, etc, there have been dwindling numbers of personal posts not only in India but also globally. These 'Digital Generation' or 'Gen Z' or now even 'Gen Alpha' who live with their eyes glued to the various sizes of screens, are practically clueless about the wonderful tactile experience of writing a letter, receiving it and even finding boundless joy after finding it buried in a book years later.
Here’s 5 reasons why the time has come to teach the Snapchat Generation the importance of handwritten snail mail:
Messages are efficient but writing is proficient
There was once a time when reading and writing were an uncommon asset and the literate formed an elite group. Crisp, eloquent language, fluent grammar and brevity were virtues of the educated. Language and structure of thought were highly regarded and appreciated.
Today, we don't even need the complicated movements and the coordination to form an alphabet, nor do we require the cognitive ability to comprehend imperfection in handwriting. Our emotional peaks are reduced to LMAOs and tools like cut, copy, paste, delete make us write before we think.
Have the machines started to dumb us down instead of making us smarter?
Letters stand out amidst digital clutter
There might be hundreds of photos in your Gallery right now. And even more on the Cloud backup. Let’s not forget the ones which lie forgotten in your hard disks with every mobile backup, and the ones on the PC begging to be sorted. But there will be only one of that letter that was written to you, only one of that very special Archies card that came on your birthday with a cryptic message that only you understood.
It is funny how in a time where everyone is trying to find a unique voice, we are falling back on the most conventional and convenient ways that everyone seems to be using.
Letters are unique and beautiful and tell you exactly how you can be that as well.
Instant and impersonal vs slow and personal
Gone are the days when a tear-stained letter would wrench your hearts open and calligraphed letters would make one swoon. The kisses to your mother look exactly like the kisses to your beloved online now! In the age of emoji-alone responses and fonts, it is disturbing to think that one can’t tell a person from another online. The standard of standardisation and impersonalisation is incredible. And let us not even begin to talk about how all this is killing our creative brain cells.
This desensitisation of our senses is almost dangerous and hand written communication can be a very simple way to get in touch with ourselves again.
Inculcating patience vs instant gratification
It is no surprise that the young generation finds the ‘obsolete’ means of communication unnecessary. In today’s age, everything needs to happen right now. Every message needs to be conveyed, every moment shared as soon as it happens. There is a fear of falling behind everyone else if you do not log into your online social network for even a day. This instant gratification culture has left us impatient; incapable of enjoying the simpler, slower joys in life.
Because there are things which do not need to be conveyed immediately, messages which become sweeter with the time that it takes to write them and the time it takes for them to reach. The wait, patience and trust in a higher power (the postal system and the universe, in this case) are necessary in today's times to feel more centred.
Letters are a legacy
It is wonderful to think that a paper, ink and some symbols can capture the essence of a person. What a sweet treasure to own in someone's absence. The tactility and physicality of a letter make it irreplaceable and incomparable to the jumble of alphabets and numbers online. No number of notifications can beat that smell of old parchment and deny the fact that the writer left a bit of their heart and soul on that piece of paper.
It looks like India Post’s financial dependence on the postal system is not as important as our need to get back to pen and paper today. Writing by hand has multiple emotional and cognitive benefits and also provides a relief from the overwhelming chaos of the internet. While it is heart-warming to see children being fascinated by licking and sticking stamps today, there is also a tinge of sadness, because what was once a common occurrence is now a novelty. Most kids today don’t even know what a letter really means, let alone choosing it as a way to send a message.
This is the ‘Write Time!’ It's time to give the postpeople and post offices some delivering to do so that letters don’t become extinct and part of kids’ books just like Harappan civilisation and Mughal era.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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