After a nice dinner out to kick-off the weekend, found myself with absolutely nothing to do this evening. Rummaged through the bookshelf in our bedroom looking for some old forgotten book (love the comfort of re-reading). And stumbled on my diary from my pre-teen years (yes, that fossil!).
Found this letter in there, preserved carefully for soooo many years (ok, might as well make that decades).
I must have been 11 then, in 7th standard. Pen-pals were all the rage, I recall. I was beyond thrilled to receive this (unsolicited) letter from (what I imagined) was some dashing 14 year old in the UK.
After reading and re-reading the letter a few times, I giddily ran to Appa. I distinctly remember standing in the kollai of Thatha and Patti’s house (why? perhaps washing up after a meal, who knows?). Anyway. I breathlessly informed Appa that I had a letter from a kid named Nick Waspe and asked if I could please write back to him. “Is that a boy? No, no writing back to this boy.” was all Appa said as he walked back into the house. I remember standing there in the kollai looking at his departing back, soooo disappointed, but yet not saying a word. That was the end of the discussion (take note, little N and little A – such parental obedience displayed by your fabulous mother). I didn’t even think to suggest to Appa that perhaps I could write to Nick’s friend Andrea (a girl, as he puts it). I really pined for a pen-pal for a while after that, I remember (at least till non-stop studying took over in 10th grade and thereafter).
I know that I have a strong memory and all, but looking at this letter today, I could viscerally recall the twinge of disappointment that my 11-year old self felt. Looking back, I wish I had rocked the boat a little and asked Appa for a reason as to why I couldn’t write back. Perhaps he didn’t actually feel that strongly about my writing or not writing. Perhaps I could have worn him down if I had asked a couple of times.
Was it Lewis Carroll that said “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”? Satya vachan! 🙂