There was a time when people patiently waited for days or months to receive a letter on the mail. However, the new generation, who gets easily annoyed if they don’t see the double blue tick on their WhattsApp can hardly imagine of those days. The ruby red mail boxes that proudly stood on the road sides too have disappeared. You cannot blame anyone as our dear ones are just a phone call away.
But Rezbin Abbas, a native of Areekod in Malappuram stands out as the girl who loves to wait. This class eleven student regularly receives letters on the mail from 43 countries around the world.
In this modern age of communication, Rezbin must be the only person who waits for real letters in Malappuram. Rezbin was studying in class ten when she began enjoying the incredible feeling of waiting for a letter. “I do paintings and paper art as well. I post the pictures of my works on my Instagramm account. One day, I received a message from a woman called Sara from Mexico. She said that she loved my drawings. I thanked her. Soon we became good friends,” recalls Rezbin.
It was then that the duo felt that they should keep their friendship alive through handwritten letters. Rezbin shared her postal address with Sara. Since then, the duo never communicated through social media. “Soon I began waiting for Sara’s letters. It was during the Christmas vacation that I received a letter and a gift from Sara on the postal mail. I felt happier than seeing a thousand blue ticks on WhattsApp,” says Rezbin excitedly.
Slowly Rezbin began finding friends through letters. She would meet someone on the social media and then exchange their postal addresses. Then they would continue their friendship only through letters. However, she never shares her phone number with anyone. “Within a year I found 45 friends in 43 different countries. I receive letters from countries like the United States, Japan, Indonesia and Spain. I reply them all. Now, I have female friends who are between 15 and 24 years of age, from around the world,” says Rezbin.
The letter girl
“In the letters that I write, I talk about our place, the unique cultures and the colourful festivals. I also write about the rich cultural heritage of our country and also about the important events that are happening currently. I write about my personal stuff too. They write the same details in their letters as well. Maggi, a girl from Bulgaria wrote in her latest letter that she would soon visit Kerala. I hadn’t been receiving letters from my friend in Indonesia for quite some time. It was only later that I knew that her father had passed away. Rumeysa from Turkey had revealed in her first letter that she was a cancer patient. She writes about her health and how she fights cancer in all her letters,” says Rezbin.
The young girl says that many mock her for her ‘strange’ hobby. However, Rezbin doesn’t pay heed to them. “All of my friends, whom I have not seen, write letters in their own handwriting, from so many countries. And I reply them all. The ecstasy that I enjoy when I get their letters and know about their lives is what inspires me to write more. That incredible feeling is inexplicably special,” smiles Rezbin.
Rezbin says that she must be the only person who receives letters regularly at the post office in her area. However, there is only a post woman at the office and she has to travel for long just to deliver Rezbin’s letters every day. So, she told the officials at the post office that the letters could be delivered once in three days. “Many letters reach me after months. My friends too receive my letters late. I have complained many times; however, it falls on deaf ears. But I will keep writing letters. I pray that I keep receiving many more letters in the future as well,” says Rezbin.
Rezbin Abbas is a class eleven student at the Mookanad SHS School. She stays at Vadakkummuri near Areekod with her mother Raheena and brother Abik.