I clearly remember those days.
And cherish them so dearly.
Growing up, we lived on the top floor of a huge bungalow, in one of the central areas of New Delhi.
There were around six families in that big bungalow.
And we were so lucky to live on the top floor. Even though we had to climb two never-ending sets of stairs everyday, carrying a 20 pound backpack.
But we had a huge terrace, lots of fresh air, and a clear view of the blue sky.
Those days, we didn’t have a personal mailbox per family.
In fact, all the families in that bungalow shared a small built-in concrete opening in the parapet wall, located on the ground floor.
It wasn’t a lock box. There was no key. It was literally a concrete opening, and everyone could easily see who got what.
Each day, late afternoon, the mailman would arrive on his bicycle.
Wearing his khaki colored suit, carrying a cotton canvas bag on his shoulder, he would make stops all along our street.
And then his bicycle would stop at our house and one by one, he would slide the mail through that 12 inch by ½ half slot.
Most days the mail would fit in that concrete opening, but some days it would overflow and everyone's mail would be lying all over the floor. Sometimes even fly to the park next door if there was a storm. Or get drenched in the rain, if it happened to rain right at that time.
We lived on the third floor. There was a big window in our kitchen.
From this window we got a full view of our street.
And a full view of that concrete opening, a.k.a our mailbox.
Every afternoon I would look down below, to see if there was even a slightest view of paper peeking through that concrete opening.
And when I saw a just glimpse of something that even looks like a piece of paper, I would yell,
"mummy mein mail check karke aati hoon", meaning “Mom, I’m going to go check the mail and brb!”
And before I could hear a response, I would sprint downstairs.
It was one of the best moments of my day.
Back in those days, there was no concept of junk mail.
Getting snail mail meant it was something important.
Mostly there were bills.
But some days, in between those bills, there would be a letter. A handwritten one.
And on extra special days, there would be greeting cards.
In bright red envelopes. Sometimes bright pink envelopes. Sometimes yellow envelopes.
Sometimes big cards. Sometimes small cards.
Mostly with my dad or mom’s name on it.
But some days, with my name on it.
A bright red envelope with my name on it.
For a teenager or young adult, this meant a long happy dance.
So I did, a happy dance, in my mind, every time.
And while doing the happy dance mentally, I would hold that card in my hands. Look at it for long.
Who’s it from? What does it say? Is it from her? Or him?
And then I would run upstairs, go to my room and when no one would be watching, I would open it.
The anticipation was real. And the unraveling of who it’s from was filled with curiosity and child-like joy.
Mostly it used to be cards from my best friends.
Because that’s what we did those days.
We gave each other cards.
For birthdays. For New Years. For Diwali. For Valentines. For Friendship day.
Basically any occasion that was worth sending a card for.
And if there was no occasion, even then, we would send cards and even put handwritten letters in between.
I can’t even remember how many times I ran out of my pocket money buying cards.
And I even made cards by hand back then. Spent hours coloring, drawing, creating new designs and writing quotes I copied from other cards.
Cheesy friendship quotes. Straight from the heart.
All so worth it. Because...
The joy my friends would feel opening those cards was priceless.
The joy I would feel when I got cards was priceless.
That joy still lingers in my heart.
In fact, writing this post has taken me back to those times.
Oh, those sweet old memories of bright red envelopes.
For the past 7-8 years, I stopped this beautiful joy-giving snail-mailing ritual.
Because I shifted to e-cards. And it’s just not the same.
Somehow I also started feeling obligated that I "need" to send cards. Another reason I stopped.
And then the whole thing about saving trees by not sending cards.
But since past year or so, that old joy-giving snail mailing ritual has found it's way back in my life.
I’m so over the "e-card" thing and the "need" to send cards thing. I now send cards when I truly feel like sending a card.
I'm not over the "saving trees" thing so I found amazing companies who print eco-friendly cards with my art on them. A happy dance again.
Yes, my card making, card giving and card receiving days are back.
My joy-giving snail-mailing ritual is back.
Because I miss giving joy that way.
And I miss receiving joy that way.
In the pile of junk mail, bills and catalogs, I miss seeing those bright red envelopes with my name handwritten on it.
I miss all that.
But this time, this joy-giving ritual is back in a high-vibe & sustainable way.
Because the cards I make are not just any cards you feel obligated to pick from the grocery store, when you're doing some last minute flower shopping.
These cards are made to expand your heart and fill it with more love & joy.
They're made to bring back that beautiful joy-giving ritual of waiting for the snail mail, in dreamy anticipation and child-like wonder.
Because there’s still something about peeking through the kitchen window, every afternoon and getting that glimpse of a bright red envelope.
There’s still something so special about spreading joy the old school way.
p.s If spreading joy old-school way tingles your heart, browse through my collection of evergreen cards! They're fit for all seasons and any reasons 🥰
p.p.s. If reading this post took you back in time, I would love to hear your joyful snail-mail stories! Share in comments below or send me an email at loveleen[at]loveleensaxena.com
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