Oldschool friendship and Rezbin Abbas conventional letters
Friends are special and so is friendship. But unlike today, when friends from around the world are just one click away, there was a time when people patiently waited for letters from their friends. These handwritten letters hold a different meaning than now’s WhatsApp messages. They can be stored, re-read, and eulogized, these letters would narrate tales of childhood friendships and retro adulation.
Meet Rezbin Abbas from Kerala who is restoring the legacy by making friends around the world through handwritten letters. In an era when people get frustrated by not seeing a blue tick on their WhatsApp message, Rezbin is patiently waiting for her next letter.
A native of Areekod in Malappuram, Kerala, Rezbin Abbas is bringing back old-school memories.
Rezbin’s journey of exchanging letters ignited from a severe episode of Depression. Her parents separated when she was just nine years old and she along with her brother Abik, decided to stay with their mother, Raheena Umminiyil. Hailing from a small town of Malappuram, Kerala, the society was not used to single parenting, especially single mothers. Thus, since childhood, Rezbin faced severe mocking by her peers and the schoolgirls would not make friends with her. As she didn’t have a father, she was ridiculed by the society.
She spend a major part of her childhood managing the void inside her, and this loneliness soon took a shape of depression. But in the era of social media, Rezbin too had an Instagram account where she would often share her pictures and experiences with the world. Never had she thought, this simple practice would lead her to make thousands of friends worldwide.
“I received my first letter from Sara, a Mexican living in the US in 2018. She had chanced upon my Instagram profile and started following me. I would post a lot of pictures of art and craft on my feed, which she liked. So she asked for my address and sent me a postcard for Christmas. I was touched by the gesture and wrote back. That’s how it all began,” says Rezbin Abbas in an interview with The Better India.
This single episode became a deciding factor of her life where she understood one thing- the world is more than just her neighborhood. After that, Rezbin started giving efforts to connect with people from different corners of the world. She would often strike a random conversation and tell them about her hobby of sharing letters. Many people enthusiastically responded and started writing to her. Within a year of exchanging letters, 18 years old, Rezbin received 45 letters from 43 different countries. She now has more than 15 friends from around the world, with whom they would share everything.
In the letters, they would talk about culture, climate, society, school curriculum, food, and more, though they never exchanged their phone numbers. She especially shares the incredible culture of Kerala in her letter and through one of which her friend Maggie from Bulgaria, visited the state with her parents right before the pandemic. Sometimes, Rezbin would also receive exotic chocolates, teas, and even leaves along with the letters.
Rezbin Abbas recalls, that her unique hobby is often mocked by a few people, but she doesn’t pay any heed to them. Though her mother is very supportive.
“All of my friends, whom I have not seen, write letters in their own handwriting, from so many countries. And I reply to them all. The ecstasy that I enjoy when I get their letters and know about their lives is what inspired me to write more. That feeling is inexplicably special.” says Rezbin Abbas.
The way Rezbin Abbas is bringing back a legacy of yesteryear is in itself incredible as well as applauding.
The story of young Rezbin suggests that friendship in life is very important. Friends make you do crazy things and do the same for you. You laugh with them, you cry with them. You call them up when you are happy, you call them and cry over a call when you are sad. You can count on them when you are in need. And it is not at all necessary to have friends right in your neighborhood, school or society, sometimes a fella sitting in an opposite corner of the world could also be your best friend.