You know, when I think about my childhood, when Amma was off travelling in the wilds of India, and the only way we used to keep in touch was letters, I am amazed at how easy it is to stay in touch today.

This was a time before cellphones, heck it was before STD booths! We wrote her letters at various PWD rest houses, that she’d go and pick up once in a while. The inlands she wrote us would turn up to great excitement. I remember writing to my cousin, and scribbling in tiny letters on every spare millimetre of the inland. I remember receiving letters as recently as 2000, when I was in college. I have a big box of them somewhere, all the letters my friends wrote to me when they left for college. IT took time and effort to communicate, and we did it.

Today, however, its as easy as blinking, and we don’t! Maybe it’s because today you can keep general tabs on everyone and everything, while back then if you wanted to know how someone was you had to call them or write to them and hope they would reply. Now, you just scroll through the status updates on your facebook feed!

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, and I’m not sitting here and bemoaning the loss of letter-writing – though I do miss it.

I think it’s amazing that I can watch my niece scoot around the floor and climb onto things, and wave at her and see her wave back, and listen to her babbling madly. I love that I can see a new photo of her every week, in fabulous quality. But sometimes I think that it makes it worse. Sometimes, when I look at that wicked grin and that soft hair, I want to reach out and touch it. It kinds brings home to me that my niece is so far away, and I don’t know when I’ll get to hold her in my arms, or be bitten by her, or sniff the top of her head like a crack addict.

All this shrinking sometimes only emphasizes the size of the original distance.

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