Postcards not a thing of the past

Archana Mehta with postcards she received from 120 countries.

Hyderabad: Before the time of Google and social media, there was the charm of having a pen friend and one would wait eagerly for the postcard bearing news from lands far away. The happiness that came with opening a letter and reading the contents, went out the window when the internet came knocking. But a few people still fancy the old school charm of sending and receiving postcards and have continued the tradition for years together.

Archana Mehta has been postcrossing, which means sending postcards to anyone across the globe, since 2011. Once you register on the website, you receive a postcard ID with an address. All one has to do is write a few personal lines and post it to the address given and the cycle begins.

“My brother introduced me to postcrossing. I already had an interest in collecting stamps. But it’s really exciting to receive a postcard from another country. It’s never predictable, you are always going to be surprised by what kind of postcard you get,” says Archana. So far Archana has collected some 600 postcards from 120 countries like UK, USA, China, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Netherlands, Finland, Belarus, Poland, Bulgaria, Canada, etc.

Her fascination has also led to burgeoning friendships with people from around the world. “I have a pen pal in USA with whom I have been corresponding regularly since 2014. One time I got a postcard from a lady in Sweden who had sent me a postcard featuring the hand print of her one-year-old son. Generally, it’s not necessary to send a postcard back to the same person, but she requested me to send a time capsule to her son, and so I did,” adds Archana.

While Archana chose to do postcrossing through a website, Retd Colonel Akhil Kumar says, he had been writing postcards to his mother from the time he was posted in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh some 30 to 40 years ago.

“Those days, letters used to take a month to reach my mother in UP. Later, when I would visit my son or relatives abroad, I developed a network of people with shared interests and began sending and receiving postcards on different subjects like culture, birds, UNESCO sites, dances, bridges, lighthouses etc. I ended up collecting 20,000 postcards sent by people from 125 countries. I have now divided the postcards according to subjects in 300 to 400 albums,” shares Col. Akhil Kumar.

He also started a Postcrossing Society of India page on Facebook to encourage people to write postcards. “These days, people have lost the ability to craft a letter. So I also conduct workshops where children see these postcards and then write their thoughts on them. It’s one way to keep this tradition alive,” he adds.

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