Of packages in the post and handwritten letters in the letterbox

Individually wrapped gifts lie on the floor. At the forefront is one ins white paper with beautiful multicoloured dots on it. At the background you can see one in black and white stripes with flowers, another one in white background and butterflies, and yet another one wrapped in floral imagery. You can also see a box of chocolates.

This past week, we received a letter from An Post that they were holding a parcel for us at the Blackrock post office. And that the parcel came from the United Kingdom.

I had no clue who sent me a parcel. It was on my name so it was definitely someone that I knew. But who could it be? Reading, United Kingdom had been our home for more than four years before we moved to Dublin, Ireland.

Reading was the home which we longed for when we first moved to Dublin in November 2018. We missed our neighbours, our friends and colleagues, the butcher, the saloon where I unfailing went for all my haircuts, the Indian shop where we got all our spices and vegetables. What the heck, I even missed the no. 17 bus that took me everywhere I wanted to in Reading!

So I let my mind wander. Who could have sent me the package?

On his way back from the Blackrock post office, my husband messaged me that the package was from Sejal, and that it was heavy and would I please pick up some milk from the Spar next door? He texted that since the package was heavier than what he had assumed, he wasn’t going to pop in for milk on his way back.

Sejal is a friend that I almost did not make. I only met her when we were about to leave Reading. You know those stories about ‘chance coffee’ encounters? Those are those romantic kind of stories where you end up meeting your girlfriend or boyfriend or future partner just because you accepted an invite to meet a friend and she happened to bring a friend along?

That’s my and Sejal’s story. I was meeting a friend for coffee. She had met another friend for lunch. That another friend was Sejal and our common friend asked her if she wanted to come along for a post lunch coffee date. Sejal accepted and that’s how we met.

I felt an instant connection to her. She was warm and kind and had such a lovely smile. I felt as if I already knew her, that I had met somewhere before – probably in a past life.

We quickly became friends, notwithstanding the fact that time wasn’t on our side because my husband and I were to soon leave Reading.

But we continued to stay in touch even after our inevitable moving away happened. Through WhatsApp calls and a WhatsApp group called Foodie gupshup (named so because the three of us, and this included the friend who introduced us, seemed to always be talking about food, Indian food to be precise, and what we missed, and how a particular aroma or a recipe took us back to our childhoods and such. Gupshup is a Hindi word for gossip or casual chitchat).

The package was from Sejal.

When my husband got the package home, I was like an excited terrier puppy. I was bouncing up and down the hallway, as if the parcel was a ball.

My husband started taking pictures as I sat down on the floor and took a pair of scissors to tear open the packet.

You can see a handmade card with my initial P (painted with sketchpens and in pink). There's a hardbound book of Ainsley's mediterranean cookbook, a box of Anthon Berg chocolates, a diary with a beautiful green casing and with white flowers, a serving tray in green and pink leaves motifs, a box of loccitane products.

Once, the contents were out, it felt as if I was a child in a village fair. There were so many colours! There were five individually wrapped gifts and two envelopes. There was a gift wrapped in blushing pink with a beautiful postcard pasted on the top of it, another one was covered in pristine white with tiny multicoloured specks of dots all over it. There was a box which was wrapped in a white sheet with pink and maroon butterflies on it. Then there was a longer one, that was wrapped in a sheet with black and white strips and red, yellow, pink and white daisy like flowers print all over it. And an even bigger one with all kinds of flowers in all kinds of colours. Plus what seemed like a card or a letter was wrapped in delicate lavender paper – it had a beautiful feel to it, the paper rustled, like a new dress against a young, silken body.

All the labels on the gift packets were hand written.

The lavender sheet turned out to be from handmade paper that came all the way from Mumbai. It held a beautiful handmade card with my initial P. The box in the butterfly print paper was in my favourite colour – purple, and it had a beautiful motif and of leaves and twines with little bead like structures glued on it. The box was full of L’Occitane goodies.

I wondered, when was the last time I had received a handwritten letter, wrapped lovingly in a handmade paper? While I do receive Christmas cards with a handwritten note, it is usually bills and receipts and communication from the bank and utility firms that line our letterbox.

I cannot remember when was the last time I had this magical little hour of tearing through a package, of letting my eyes feast on the multi-coloured wrapping paper, of opening each gift, heart throbbing with anticipation and excitement and curiosity, of discovering and revelling in all the gifts that my friend and her husband had chosen for me and my husband, of reading the letters, of eyes feasting on the familiar curve of the cursive writing of a dear one.

I thought this was beautiful and that I must share this. And that life is all about chances. The chances that you take, the chances that people take on you. Even when they know that this person who they have just met, the person who feels like comfort and home is going to move away soon, and in spite of that they are willing to invest their love and time and energy on them.

Sometimes you meet a friend on pure chance, on luck – but it is how you nurture those friendships, and how you love that friend, that cements both love and luck and chance and builds it into something magical and beautiful.

6 thoughts on “Of packages in the post and handwritten letters in the letterbox

  1. Prerna you are such a wonderful soul. Reading your write up was equally exciting for me. Even I started getting impatient about the parcel and it’s contents. I was just wondering how similar the feeling was when you are reading a thriller book.

    I am sure you and Sejal have been friends in the past life and the connections are so beautiful and instant.

    Shweta I remember used to relish your gifts so much. It took me back to those days when Shweta would want to meet you you all desperately. She would come home and simply talk about you.

    Thank you so much beta. God bless you always 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much uncle for writing to me and your kind, kind words. Uncle, I have written about the books you and aunty had given me over the years, especially when I was a child. Did you read that one? You had given me such lovely Russian folk tales, all hardbound editions. My love to Shweta and regards for aunty.

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      1. Prerna so good to know you remember those books. In fact I went into your archives to search for the blog “Captured in the bookshelf are the pages of my past” Thank you so much for remembering us. I just read that for the first time. Otherwise I would have surely replied to you immediately.
        I remember the one about Sir and Mahatma Gandhi and I still rate that as the best ever. It had really touched my heart and it reminded me of my glorious days with Sir.

        I will share an incident with Sir. He will always bring something for me and this time it was a book on “Secondary Healing” – it was about mind being more powerful than the body. Mind heals everything.
        He said please read the book and return it in one month. Well you know me – I read the book and went to return it in 17 days. To my surprise – He said ” Manoj I just wanted to see that you really read the book and digest it. I have brought it for you and for you to keep.” That was the type of Fatherly love he had for me.

        Memories of Sir, Ma’am and you will always be cherished. Thank you beta.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post took me back to the 1980s when the postman was a much liked figure. First it was the letters and parcels from my fiance that I waited for, then it was the parcel that arrived from my parents. I like sending parcels to my daughter even today. And once, on receipt of a well-stuffed parcel, my French penfriend wrote back, it feels as if Christmas has come a few months early! Thank you for taking me down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jaya for writing in. If you would write a post about letters and parcels from your fiance, I would absolutely love to read that. My mother has preserved a bag full of birthday cards that I had got over the years from our family (who in most part, is settled out of India). I love that bag, it has cards and handwritten inscribings there in, right from the time I was one year old. I rarely get handwritten letters and parcels now and when I do, I am over the moon. It is like a magical hour for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it certainly feels magical. I used to spend hours writing letters to friends and relatives… it was time well spent. I guess I should get down to writing that post about letters now. Thanks for the push!

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