Back in those days when we didn't have email attachments with pictures of us and our family members grinning away those mega pixels taken on that 'smaller-than-my-palm' cyber-shots, when we didn't have messengers and skypes and what-have-yous, we had something that connected directly with our hearts: Picture post cards. You had this lovely sunset from somewhere, which you held lovingly in your fingers, and turned the card around to read even more lovingly, the scribbled letters of a friend, thousands of miles away. You probably received the card a month after the season shown in the card, but you didn't 'delete' the post card. You adorned it lovingly on your loving black n white TV, for the world to see, that you had a dear friend overseas who sent you lovely colorful picture post-cards.
My father was one such lucky person. And he received his card from a colleague who he'd befriended while on a trip abroad. He'd receive the cards every christmas and new year, sometimes even out of the blue...and read out the tiny, scrawly letter etched on the back of the card to us. Sometimes, he'd get a full letter in an envelope. The letter even smelled good! And we kids would pride at the fact that dad had an 'American' friend.
We received countless cards and letters, until one year they just stopped coming. Just like that. Stopped (much before the internet and emails...even STD calls). We spoke about it for a year or two and then carried on with life. One day, last year, we remembered this friend and wondered what would've made the guy stop writing.
"I guess, he passed away."
In truth, this might really have been the case. Because he was the only person who my father knew. We didn't know his whereabouts, we didn't know his changed address, if any (father tried writing to him years back, but the letters just returned to him).
I even googled him out for father, came up with a couple of close matches, but perished the thought, because of the age differences. I guess he really did pass away. But just think - at least for father, his very existence depended on just the cards and letters he wrote; the wishes he sent across the oceans.
Now, if only there was an email service in heaven.