Let’s talk about Postcards


Recently, I heard a beautiful little speech from a fellow Toastmaster Sivaranjani about Postcards and Pen Pals. She talked about how, as a kid, she used to send out postcards from her family to the relatives. She went on to tell about her meeting with one of the pen friends she had made during the time when it was cool to have pen friends. The speech was reminiscent of the time without Internet which now seems like ages ago. She ended her speech with a beautiful gesture of handing out actual postcards to the members of the audience.

One of the important points she raised about Postcards was the analogy with the social media of today’s time. She said that Postcards are like Tweets: One has to deliver the message on a limited space for writing. Also, Postcards are also like the infamous Open Letters which you intend that the original recipient would read. Although, except that person, everyone else reads that.

In a rather personal plus fictional story combination book by a friend titled ‘And we remained’, a major chunk of the story is told via the email-exchanges between 4 friends. One could read this book if you want to go back to your nostalgic college days, first crush feelings and the time when sending emails to and fro used to exist. Anyways, point being, communication recently has taken a weird turn.

I have not sent or received postcards or even a letter since last 15 years or so minimum. I did use to make greeting cards during school time which I used to give away to friends and teachers before summer vacation or winter holiday breaks. But that practice diminished as I grew up. I also haven’t received/sent a proper email from/to anyone in at least last 3 years in which we could have just shared information about each other’s well being. The only letters I receive are actually cardboard containers from Amazon. I did receive few physical Greeting Cards from my wife when she was away. (I felt pretty awkward initially as I didn’t expect that people would still be dealing with Greeting Cards. But that was a wonderful gesture, so thank you R if you are reading this. Sorry that I didn’t reply back with another greeting card of my own. I am a bit tech-savvy that way.). Obviously, ego gets in the way of communication nowadays. Despite being so closely connected, we hardly talk to people. I had even written a satire piece a few days ago about replying to Whatsapp/Email has become optional. You may read that here.

Whining about this isn’t the solution. The solution would be to reopen the communication channel with old friends in some way. One can still send out postcards. One can write emails. Even a Poke on Facebook might help in rekindling the friendship, who knows! Wish someone new year in an original manner and not HNY! Of course, I am not suggesting to you that pick up the phone and call that person. Who would do that!

I got this postcard by the way after that speech:

Recommended Sites, in case you are interested:

  • People who used to use blogpost.com would remember about lettersofnote.com. If not, you can still go ahead and check this site. They publish postcards, letters, telegrams from the past. Soon, they should also start posting emails from the early days of the Internet. That would be fascinating to read.
  • I found this website which does this amazing thing even today: postcrossing.com. I am copy pasting their stats from the site below:

P.S. A picture of Postbox with address if you want to send someone a postcard from Bengaluru

This, I saw at MG Road Boulevard, Bengaluru. It is a bit sad that the caption I put in the second comment on the picture there was ‘#historical’.