When was the last time you sent a letter to someone? No, we don’t mean an email; we are talking about handwritten letters. Missives you waited patiently for, looking out for the postman each morning, hoping today would be the day he brings something for you.
For most of us now, a WhatsApp message usually elicits a quick response but we can all admit that a handwritten letter carries a bit of old-world charm that will never go out of style.
And a great proponent of handwritten letters is Paromita Bardoloi, who started an initiative called ‘Letter from A Stranger, India’, to send handwritten letters to people across the globe. To date, the community that she built on Facebook has sent over 100 letters across the globe. In this community, a form is put up for writers and requesters of letters once every two months. The information is collated and the letters are distributed. Then begins the journey of responding to the letters.
The entire initiative is driven by volunteers and is for free. On an average, 30 volunteers sign up every month to write letters.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Paromita said,
“We only offer one letter from our side; the rest is always on mutual consent and personal choice. And every writer and receiver must be above 18 years of age.”
There are a few rules that one must follow in order to be part of this initiative. First, the writer has to show empathy and no judgment. Here, the writer would share learnings from his/her own life. Second, after the first letter, it’s up to the writer or receiver to keep or close the channel of communication.
Born and bought up in Assam, Paromita has been writing letters since she was 12 years old.
“You know you went to someplace, met kids of your age, exchanged addresses and wrote letters. And somehow sub-consciously it became a part of my being. In a letter, you could be more open. Also, in that process, I found out a lot about myself. Letters can free a lot of demons within and it can be a therapeutic experience,” Northeast Today quotes Paromita. According to her, the initiative gets many emails from people whose lives the letter has touched.
Anyone from anywhere in the world can get the letters based on their request, which people put up on the Facebook page.
For now, Paromita aims to keep the channel safe and inclusive. The plan is to publish a book that has a compilation of select letters obtained with consent.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)