October 1, 2022

By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

A couple of days back, while surfing on the net, I came across an interesting group in Facebook. This group consists of people, mostly of my generation, who want to re-start the practice of letter writing. Wow, pen-friendship is what I have always loved.

The group members in general encourage people to start pen-friendship with others. They are interested in sending letters and receiving the replies via post, just as it had been during the 1960s, 70s, 80s and to some extent during the 1990s.

Unfortunately I missed the group. I tried to find the group, but it seems that most probably due to some technical reason the group is no more.

Sometime back I had written my feelings about pen-friendship in this column, however I would like to discuss the same once again.

When I was in middle school, my late father introduced me to pen-friendship. My father used to have penfriends during the 1950s and one of my uncles also had some. I had seen them writing letters, and had even read some of the replies received. I remember a friend of my uncle in Germany had sent a spoon as souvenir. There used to be some other souvenirs as well which were kept with due care in a glass fronted cupboard in the sitting room of my grandmother’s house.

I had one photo of a pen friend of my late father, in Germany, which she had sent during the early 1950s. Unfortunately I have mislaid that photo somewhere.

I started pen-friendship when I was in middle school. It was not just writing the letter that always made me excited. What I always liked the most was the time when I received the reply. I still have the same feelings whenever I receive any reply from anyone. I love that peculiar suspense and excitement.

During the 1970s I had some penfriends in Philippines, a friend in England and one in Norway (or was it Sweden?). Somewhere I still have their photographs. They too by now have grown old like me. I wish I could find them again.

During the 1970s I started having pen-friendship with many friends in Turkey. Though my knowledge of Turkish was limited to a couple of sentences at that time,  I was writing letters to all of them. Most of my Turkish friends at that time, did not know English, but they too were interested in writing to me.

I always liked writing to them and receiving letters from them. Interestingly I am still in contact with three of those Turkish friends. Though now we do not write letters anymore, however, frequently we exchange messages on Facebook.

The new generation, born in the era of internet, obviously never understand the real meaning of pen-friendship. They do not know the feelings of a writer of a letter. They do not understand how it is to feel while waiting for a reply, and then reading it.

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