The other day my mother and I were cleaning up the attic when we found a small locked jewellery box. From the look of it, it had been gathering dust on top of a broken cabinet for many years and quite naturally key had been lost. It took us almost half an hour to break it and finally when I opened the lid what lay inside were neatly folded sheets that time had turned yellow. I picked up one and the moment I tried to open it, it crumbled at the edges. With my shaky hands, very delicately, I managed to lay it out on the table. The ink had faded to an almost unreadable blue. However, I still managed to read what had been written in it.
They were love letters that my great grandfather had written to my great grandmother in 1880!
Time was forgotten as I sat in my room reading them one after the other. How my heart wished that someone wrote one to me too – a page filled with the most beautiful handwriting and carefully chosen words of heartfelt romance that almost sounded like poetry to the ears.
There used to be a time when writing letters used to be the sole means of communication. A melancholy gripped me as I thought about the fact that it was such a pity that nowadays people preferred to write love SMS or just scribble a ‘darling, I love you’ hurriedly on a greeting card instead of writing love letters on a sheet of perfumed paper. The hopeless romantic that I am, I still feel that nothing compares to a love letter. After all, reading about the expression of love carries more depth simply on account of the fact that that someone actually cares enough to think of the words and write it down which, in turn, will be cherished for eternity.
As I finished the last letter and put it back into the box, I thought, what is it that made these letters sound and feel so perfect? Here’s my take on what makes the perfect love letter.
Even before you begin to write, un-clutter your desk and your thoughts. Ask yourself why you want to write the letter. Is it because you are missing him? You want to say thank you for a romantic dinner? You have finally admitted to yourself that you love him and you want to tell him so?
While you can pour your heart out even through an email, there is nothing that compares to really writing it yourself. Truly, there is nothing romantic about a typed letter. This said, not all of us have the most beautiful handwriting. If yours is a ‘doctor’s handwriting’ then I would suggest finding a professional who specializes in the art of calligraphy. However, if you are not comfortable with this, then just go slow when you are writing your final copy.
If this is your first time then it is but natural that you will not get the perfect letter at the first go itself. So, don’t let that upset you. Go on and write several drafts before your final work of emotion emerges.
Type of Paper
Use special paper when you decide to open up your heart to that dearest someone. It could be perfumed sheets, parchment paper, handmade paper, paper that has been crumpled and torn or burnt at the edges to give it an ‘old look’, coloured sheets cut in the shape of a heart or even a brown paper that has been stuck to a thin sheet of wood or leather. Keep extra sheets and its better if you use a dark ink such that the words can be read easily. After all, you would not want the person to get distracted by a multitude of colours, colours that are indecipherable or even those that are too bright.
Don’t worry about the length of the letter. You don’t have to fill a full sheet. In fact, even a smaller sheet is equally good. As long as you have said everything that you wanted to.
Opening and Closing Line
The opening line of the letter is very important as is the final sign off. For example, while a wife can write “My Darling Anurag”; she who has just begun to date would be better off writing “To Soham, affectionately”. For an impactful sign off, phrases like “Longing for your touch”, “Yours forever”, “Love you always” is sure to work well.
Make sure that there are no spelling mistakes because not only is that distracting for the one who is reading the letter but is also a sign of carelessness on your part. Look up doubtful words in a dictionary if required.
Keep the words true and honest. Avoid words or phrases that are either too clichéd or too flowery lest your letter begins to sound complicated and superficial. Make it sound as if you were in front of him talking. Some words that will help you are – kiss, love, beautiful, passionate, touch, desirable, caress, sensual, heart, lovely, happiness, joyous, completely.
Don’t forget to date the letter. When it is read later in the future, and it will be, the date will make it more meaningful.
What to put Inside
Before you glue the envelope shut, there are a few things that you can do to make it even more special like putting preserved rose petals inside or even tying the letter with a ribbon. Instead, if you want to be adventurous then avoid the envelope altogether. Instead, put it inside an empty champagne bottle, fold it into an origami paper flower or even put it inside a ring box with the ring.
Finally, if you are not going to be mailing it, then find innovative ways to deliver it. For example, bookmark it in a book that he is reading; leave it on the breakfast table with his morning newspaper or even inside the pocket of the shirt that he would be wearing to work the next day. However, if your letter is going to be posted, then you can embellish the envelope slightly with a small doodle at the back of it or seal it with red wax as was done in olden times or even a heart shaped sticker.
So go on and write your letter today and express your love to him. As for me, let me write one to myself because I am sure no one will be writing one to me! Sigh!
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