Letters..windows to other worlds

A letter still remains one of the most lasting methods of staying connected. The intimacy of spoken word is different from that of the written word.

The discussion on Skype Parenting https://prashantbhatt.com/2012/09/11/skype-parenting/reminded me of the letters and first day covers my father used to send to me from Nagaland, India around 1980. There was no skype then.

I was initiated into the art of letter writing by my maternal grandfather who used to correct my letters and send them back with suggestions, from Moscow in the mid 1970s.

Those impressions have stayed with me.

Dr.Jose raised some interesting points about curriculum in our schools, but the issue here of connection through joint journals, family journals, photo-archives, school newsletters was to get a window into the family life.

One of the most lasting impressions which I have had were the letters, first day covers and corrections I used to get from my father and grandfather , in letters from Nagaland and Moscow.

Remembering Grandparents

September 9 was Grandparents day. How do you remember your grandparents? What is the family legacy as seen through this question?

“My grandfather and father used to not see eye-to-eye on many things. But my grandfather was deeply attached to me, and it was through me that he communicated with his son,” one expatriate worker said, remembering the family dynamics and also recalling how his grandfather could remember the distinctive marks of hundreds of sheep whom he took for grazing in the fields of Maharashtra.


Letters- Windows and perspectives

A letter written from another place, makes one visualize a larger reality making us form perspectives and visions of worlds and ways of life other than one’s own.

The art of letter writing in the 18th century assumed an interesting form. It produced gossipy letters on things in general or political squibs. By means of this light, discursive literature, we have a steady flow of illuminating gossip on the life of the time, highly valuable to the social historian.

What are the types of letters which can be written to one’s children?

What are the letters which they can write back?


Of different worlds-

A life of one’s own: While being connected the child should realize that the parent who is living away has a life of his/her own, has work, friends, places to go and interact with. These windows can give interesting insights and also when they meet, they will have a common ground to discuss and talk about.

Moscow life- My grandfather would describe about life in the former USSR.How the different family dynamics were affected by his staying away from his home country. The institutions which he interacted with and the way these affected him.

This gave me an idea as a child about way institutions are developed in different societies.

As I matured I realized the differences and similarities between Nehruvian India’s institutions-be they educational or scientific and the institutions built in societies transitioning under different forms of socialism.

Nagaland Life – The butterflies and first day covers which my father would send from Nagaland provided us with a window into a part of the country which we would not see. Again, the way the Armed forces builds a sense of nation but also divides it came to my mind as I thought of the Nagaland letters of my father.

He wrote to me of the Kohima war memorial and the sacrifices on that front in World War II.

The natural surroundings of the hills of Kohima, institutions and how they interact and what the local population feels about them, life away from home and the visits back, all went into giving windows into a way of life which have formed impressions and a baseline to reflect upon later in life.

* * *

In coming blogs we will discuss other types of letters with different focus, which help form perspectives. The Conversational letter. The Scientific letter. A review of a book or movie. An account of a place visited. An account of a family visit. An account of remembering some family member. See blog –Remembering Grandfathers.

Some people may call me old fashioned.

Those who belong to the skype generation may even not bother to read this far.

But I still believe in the power of the written word.

I feel letter writing remains an important part of parenting.

A letter still remains one of the most lasting method of staying connected. The intimacy of spoken word is different from that of the written word.

* * *

Do you remember a letter interaction which shaped your perspective?


About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal : gracereadings.com
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2 Responses to Letters..windows to other worlds

  1. Pingback: Gate D 63 | Prashantbhatt's Weblog

  2. Pingback: A letter to a loved one who has passed away | Prashantbhatt's Weblog

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