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Looking back with nostalgia I recall how easy it was to have pen friends abroad and have regular correspondence with them those days. I wonder if this still happens now, with all this advancement in technology. I mean, having Pen Friends.

We did not know what they looked like – the Pen Friends –  till they sent their black and white photographs. We did not know them but we had our correspondence with them. It was wonderful having friends in England and Japan etc. There was no fear of getting drawn into any fraudulant relationship or being swindled financially.

I remember my cousin having a Pen Friend and also a couple of friends at the school boasting of getting  letters  from their pen friends and showing off the beautiful letters  and stamps. The cream coloured  envelopes with blue or green or pink lines at the edges and lovely stamps. Air Mail would be printed on top in red or blue colours..

I never had one .The reason ? It was a bit expensive.

But some twenty two years ago, when the very first computer stepped into our home, a similar situation did arise. Pen friends happened just like that !! Pen Friends of a different kind.  No buying Air Mail Envelopes; no spending on expensive stamps . Within seconds friends appered on the screen .

I only had a mail I D and also  used to type some stories in the Word Document.

I was not blogging but used to read the blogs  posted by my nieces and strangers. Then at some point I started blogging too.

Now let me come to the plot.

This happened before I had started blogging.

It happened all of a sudden. Yes, this name, let us call  this ID –  X -popped up in the chat section.

It said,

“Hi  How are you ?”

The name was a familiar one as I knew three  by this name .

I asked in return,

“Are you my cousin’s  friend? My friend’s husband ? Or my nephew from U S ?”

” None. I just clicked into your site ( I still do not know how one can do this. I am still not a smart internet buff )  ) and thought I’ll chat with you.”

It turned out that X also loved travels, reading books, watching Nat Geo and Animal planet, and interested in music…. Classical and film songs.

It so happened that we had a “chat ” everyday after one thirty p m before he reported back in his office after lunch.

Yes. He said that he was working in an I T company at Bangalore. He was a voracious reader too and we invariably discussed books.

He had never travelled South , he said but went trekking in the Himalayas every summer. That sounded  exciting. He said he was into photography. Though I loved photography, I did not have a digital camera at that time and film roll was very expensive. We had a beautiful Yashika ( we still treasure it )  and I used to take photographs only when we went on our vacations.

We were at Trivandrum at that time as the Mani-in-my-name was in the last lap of transfer before his retirement.

We had just lost our son a few months back –  he was just twenty three and I used to tag along with  my hubby  and my bag of  books wherever/whenever  he went on tour.

The evenings would be spent in visiting Temples. I was a member of a lending Library called Eloor Library and it was an ocean with books of all kinds. A Treasure Island for any bookworm. And I was one ( I still am ). I could take four books at a time and I used to complete reading them in a week.

In the morning I had my yoga classes ( which impressed Mr X,  I must say. Yes , I  had told him that I can even stand on my head and view the world upside down!! ) which were from nine to ten thirty.

To me it was a a great joy chatting with Mr X  about everything under the sun.

Then I was off  the Computer for a week, as my dear daughter in law had come down from Mid East with our grand child who was just six months old and time flew like never before.

It was only after they  left that  I realised how lonely it was and I booted the computer one afternoon after two weeks.

I had a few mails, which I answered and programmed a couple of E Cards for Birthdays , the reminders for which had come to my mail.

Then  Mr X popped up.

“Hey! Where have you been? I have been trying to  get into your Chat Space ! I thought that you had gone to the Himalayas for a trek. I had half a mind to come over and see Kerala too…they say it is God’s Own country and meet you !  ”

I was quite happy to see this friend and typed

“Sorry. I was so busy with our grandson I had completely forgotten about the computer. We had a great time going to the beach with him. Trivandrum has a lovely beach you know. The little one loved it.Now I must start my yoga class, my Library visits etc. again . Oof !! Ages since I read a book.”

There was a long pause followed by this message on the screen

“Mr X is typing “…

He had typed  just these words –

“How old are you ?”

I typed back

“Fifty six years!!”


Mr X vanished from my Chat Room.

No, from my life too, forever. No trace. Absolutely none whatsoever !!!

Ha ha ha !! May be he was under the impression that I was a PYT ( Pretty Young Thing ).Must have been mega-disappointed to realise that he had WASTED some precious time “chatting with a grandmother ” !!!!

Anyway, I had a good laugh that evening over dinner  with the Mani-in-my-name , narrating to him what had happened.

Poor Mr X .


This is a true incident that happened in my life




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Navneet Bakshi
28 days ago

That was bound to happen after you told your age truthfully :), but because you were not a regular on the computer type of a person or else you would have lied about your age and everything else. Half of the people who are on FaceBook and Twitter are not who they say they are. With your ability of writing beautiful stories I am sure you would have impersonated as a twenty year old college girl.

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