July 6, 2008

I made a comment on 's post without logging in, and later apologized. Prem's response to this was, "But I recognized your handwriting!"

I very often hear laments about snail mail, and the art of letter-writing, having lapsed in the electronic era. “There is nothing like a hand-written letter,” goes the grouse. “You don’t get a sense of the individual.”

I disagree. I may not see someone’s handwriting, but over a period of time, whether someone writes or types, that person’s style and persona come clearly across through the words, so it’s the communication that’s important to me, not whether it’s handwritten or typed or sent by fax. The communication carries the stamp of the person as much as hes handwriting does….

Also, one tends to forget that in the old era of snail mail, many people would just not write letters or communicate at all…now, with the ease of communication, a short email cc-ed to lots of friends or relatives makes it easier for people to post short notes…and keep in touch.

And again, those who are moaning about not having handwriting seem to forget all those dreadfully illegible scrawls one had to struggle to make sense of….today’s typing is unambiguous (except when the English is so much in the idiom of the local language that it’s difficult to follow) and clear…I remember a hilarious passage in Wodehouse where someone thinks that a telegram that someone (Lady Constance, I think) receives, says “lingfear” when it says “Landseer”…Lord Emsworth, the sender, has scribbled so badly that the telegram-official at the post office could not understand what he meant.

I type, nowadays, faaaar faster than I write. When I interview someone, I type straight into my laptop and don’t have to worry about deciphering what that scrawl actually could be….

Yes, I do love a letter that has some nice handwriting which expresses a good thought…but there is a lot about handwritten letters that I don’t miss.