Published On: November 18, 2018 11:22 AM NPT By: Rahat Poudel

Dear Letter, Where have you been?

Dear Letter, Where have you been?

KATHMANDU, Nov 18: “My friends used to tease me a lot whenever I got letters from my husband. Not only did they joke, they also constantly delayed in handing me the letters, just to see me blush,” said Basundhara Bhusal, a prominent Nepali actress. Bhusal is currently is in her late 60s. She recalls her times and how letters were delivered them via the postal services. 

Bhusal further said, “Sending letters during those days were worth a wait. It would take more than half a month.” Though she uses social media apps these days, she is not hesitant in agreeing  that letters were a source of happiness, especially when somebody lives far away or outside the country. The actor states that sending messages in a written form, like letters convey hidden feelings. According to her, the letters even brought tears to her eyes especially when they were from her husband. 

She shared, “I was at the hospital at Moscow. My husband regularly sent me letters from Kathmandu. Reading those letters, I felt my husband was speaking. They were emotional moments. I will never forget them.”

It can completely be agreed to that the electronic media and its applications have lessened the sending and receiving letters. Back then, people hardly had any means of communications that were as fast as the internet or telephone calls. Because of this, people had pen pals. People then tried making friends via letters. They used to deliver letters to the people who are inside the country and as well as foreigners living abroad. It’s like the ‘Facebook Messenger’ of that period. 

Letters, apart from being one of the sources of communication, also have served as a catalyst for the hobby of collecting stamps. Shyam Prasad Pradhan, 65, a jury of 30th Asian International Stamp Exhibition, is one of the enthusiast stamp collectors. When asked as to why he chose stamp collecting as his hobby, he replied, “There weren’t many enjoyable hobbies for me during my childhood days. Apart, it’s fun to collect stamps.”

Highlighting the difference between then and now, he commented that his hobby of stamp collecting has lost its charm. He lamented, “Now people mostly work on their electronic devices, emails and chat rooms. People hardly bother to send letters these days.” He further added, “In my younger days, I used to have pen pals from all around the world.”
Bijay Gurung has dwelt in the United States of America for over a decade.

“In US, normally works are done through letters and the service’s reliability is clap worthy,” Gurung stated. Gurung owns a letterbox and as we asked why he still owned the box even though he had already quit delivering letters, he responded by highlighting the habit of foreigners such as Americans. He added, “Even though the internet and phone calls have surpassed the tradition of sending letters, people still send postcards and newsletters via the postal service. In my letterbox, I normally get postcards and invitations from my alumni.”

Like the regular letter writers, the chief postmaster equally agrees on the decreasing trend of sending letters. Bed Prasad Bhandari, Chief Post Master, General Post Office, sees a fall in the eagerness of sending letters and making pen pals as compared to the time when he used to send letters and make pen friends. According to Bhandari, the reasons for the reduction of sending letters apart from the evolution of information and communication technology are the lack of physical address and the absence of motivation in people. 

Like every cloud has a silver lining, Bhandari still hopes that the postal service in Nepal will develop. “I am not asking to cut out on emails and phone calls. However, the development can be initiated from a positive thinking on letter writing.” Likewise, he also believes that postal service shouldn’t always be a medium to deliver. 

Vibes still alive!
Though most of the people think there are not many people who communicate via letters, postman Ramkrishna Basnet completely disagrees. Basnet has been working as a postman for over 22 years and he thinks he hasn’t found much difference in the number of letters he delivers. “I collect letters from a letter box at Thamel every day, and my bag is always full. “He adds. 

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