Along with the handwritten letter, the postage stamp is dying

Gone are the days when one used to eagerly wait for letters from near and far just so that the stamp could be steamed off it

  • Published 11.03.19, 7:19 PM
  • Updated 11.03.19, 7:19 PM
  • 2 mins read
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Philatelists now collect postage stamps that are released as collector’s items. Shutterstock

Sir — An oft-repeated lament in the age of online communication is the death of the handwritten letter. How many people realize that along with letters, postage stamps too are becoming a relic of the past? Gone are the days when one used to eagerly wait for letters from near and far just so that the stamp could be steamed off it. Philatelists now collect postage stamps that are released as collector’s items. But where is the fun in that?

Uma Mukherjee,

Calcutta

Keep it cluttered

Sir — Marie Kondo is the latest internet sensation. She has devised what she calls the KonMari method to declutter people’s homes and lives. According to her, anything that does not “spark joy” should be discarded. This is absurd. There are plenty of things around a person’s house that does not necessarily ‘spark joy’, but are an important part of his or her life.

Take, for instance, the old watch that once belonged to my grandfather. It no longer works; neither does it spark joy in me. Each time I look at it a deep sense of melancholy washes over me. If Kondo had her way, the watch would be in the rubbish heap by now. If ‘joy’ is all that a person had, the feeling would lose its value.

Kajari Das,

Calcutta

Sir — It is ironical that someone who advocates holding on only to things that make a person happy should be of the opinion that no one should own more than 30 books. This is ridiculous. Moreover, the logic of things ‘sparking joy’ is deeply problematic when applied to literature. Good literature is supposed to challenge, disturb, agitate and even wreck the reader. If one wants reading material that will make one happy one should stick to the hollow echo chamber of social media.

The logic of books being expendable because they are seldom re-read is strange too. First, what does Marie Kondo mean by ‘re-reading’ a book? One may not read every book cover-to-cover over and over again, but sometimes reading just one paragraph or even a line from an old book can be like the sudden pleasure of running into an old acquaintance. Kondo should try doing this once in a while. Perhaps she will then know what joy truly means.

Neel Banerjee,

Bhopal

Sir — The KonMari method might be cleaning up people’s homes, but it is also leaving the planet a more filthy place. One shudders to think how much of the things that ardent followers of Marie Kondo are throwing out are not biodegradable. Further, given how capitalism works throwing out an old useless thing will only send people reaching for a newer version to replace it. This increases consumption, which, in turn, increases waste generation. Kondo’s method focuses on just one aspect of the golden rule: reduce, reuse, recycle. How about she includes the other two features into her method as well?

Sukumar Pathak,

New Delhi

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