Epistolary by Indu Balakrishnan

Epistolary definition: of, relating to, or suitable to a letter. 

Epistolary Relationship Definition: It is a relationship where you communicate with someone via letter writing, which is a real art in itself. Now, if you think you’ve never been in such a relationship, consider this: Texting and chatting via social media is the modern version of an epistolary relationship.

Everyone is online today. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all explore the digital world in so many ways. People shop online. People watch movies, sports, and TV shows on the million platforms available. School has shifted online. And the inability to meet people has shifted relationships to the digital world as well. And it is no longer just a cool or fancy thing but pretty much critical to the survival of the relationship. 

Back in the ’90s, Yahoo was one of the most popular platforms to waste time, meet people, lurk/stalk and be one of the cool folks. It was the place where you can be someone you’re not. You had the power to create a whole new life, and no one knew any better. In their defence, there was no Facebook, Linkedin, or any decent way to stalk/investigate a person’s background, so you could be just about anyone you wanted to be

Yahoo chat rooms were popular too. It was where you could enter rooms of your choice, based on themes, topics, age, status (single/married/looking/it’s complicated, and anything you could think of to bracket yourself in) and have chats. And then, if you found yourself engaging with any one person specifically, you’d have one-on-one conversations, and if you are brave/stupid enough, you’d make the call and have a face-to-face meeting. Back in the 90s/2000s, this was the trend. 

Epistolary relationships were the thing to be in. It could be anything – geeky/platonic/romantic/anything you wanted to call it. And it worked very well for many. Reason: it was easy to talk to an unknown and share your deepest thoughts and wildest desires without being judged for it. Probably why therapy works for many. 

After it stopped working for many, life moved to the real world. Well, we still lurk on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter and whatnot. We are definitely not running short of options online, but thanks to a lack of privacy and personalized advertisements, we are now shying away from any such social media platforms. 

But there is something truly magical about having such relationships. We rarely make time to put our feelings in words. Things are taken for granted. People are taken for granted. Life has become so mundane and monotonous; we do not take the time to appreciate that moment. There are no moments anymore. Just transactional conversations. What’s for dinner? Can you do the dishes? Please watch the kids for an hour. You get the drift. 

If you want to say something to someone, just say it. Or better yet, write it down in a letter and send it to them. There is something wonderful about being old fashioned. They become lovely moments and fantastic memories. If you are not in such a relationship, you should be. It is truly timeless. And a lost art that ought to be revived. 

Have you read Love Letters of the Great War ? From the private papers of Winston Churchill to the tender notes of an unknown Tommy in the trenches, Love Letters of the Great War brings together some of the most romantic correspondence ever written. Many of the letters collected here are eloquent declarations of love and longing; others contain wrenching accounts of fear, jealousy and betrayal; and a number share sweet dreams of home.

Is this blog site something like that? Let me know 🙂 

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