Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Well, not really, but the rain and clouds outside did little to deter the enthusiasm of the children in the Crossword building. They had come to listen to Mala read from “Ritu’s Letter Gets Longer” and participate in the letter writing activity planned for them later. They eyed the bright pink post box excitedly, itching to put something (even their fingers) inside.
Mala started off by asking the kids if they had received letters. Naina looked a bit puzzled. Pooja said that her grandfather had written her an email. No, not an email, Mala explained, but a letter. Handwritten, enveloped and posted so that it goes all the way from one city to another. No, the children shook their heads. None of them had received any letters by snail mail. Mala told the kids about how letters used to be delivered by runners in the olden days, as they ran from one village to another to deliver messages. A modern runner (in a bright red tshirt) was promptly sent off to run around the room with a post card, finally coming back to deliver it. Then, we started the reading.
Crowded around Mala, they listened attentively. Pooja volunteered to play Ritu, jumping up and down and hugging grandfather (Mala) as and when the Ritu in the story did. When we got to the part where Ritu stood on tip-toe to post the letter, Mala got out the post cards and made the kids write to each other. After a little confusion, (what with the children running to their parents to write their addresses and so on), they settled down to write to each other. “I will write it myself!” Nangai told me, even as I walked over and sat down next to her. After clarifying with Mala as to whom they were writing to (the cards were shuffled – they were all writing to each other) and writing whatever they wanted to say, they stood in line to post the letter. They each reached up and, like Ritu, posted their letters in the tiny post box Mala held up.
It was fun to see a whole new world open up for these kids, after the event. It was almost as if they had discovered a new possibility, to make and keep friends through the letters they wrote. Don’t worry, kids, the letters have been posted and are on their way! You’ll be able to keep up your cross city correspondence sooner than you think!