Dear Writer: An Open Letter by an Open Letter

Dear Open Letter Writer,

Last week when you offered condolences on Twitter, it got me thinking. Is there a reason you reserve your unique brand of activism to an archaic mode of communication: i.e. me? Surely, there are more advanced forums out there to get your point/rant/ hashtags across?

But then it all made sense to me, Open Letter Writer. Because an open letter is after all your very own Twitter page, without a character limit. Even better, it reaches out to the world beyond your followers. And isn’t that the stuff Post-Demonetization Era dreams are made of?

Come to think of it, the formula is foolproof. Pick a topic that’s trending (easy peasy) and make it clear in the first sentence. Some bestsellers listed in order of controversy are: the meaning of feminism, working mother guilt, the current sentiment in Kashmir, misuse of celebrity status, nepotism (this one’s gold), and the occasional furor over uncovering hidden politician wealth. {The aforementioned are subject to change caused by political agendas, the Illuminati, or Saturn’s transit through the zodiacs.}

Address it to a celebrity, politician or even a remotely prominent authoritative body and compare the stark disparity of their privileged world to the commoner’s plight; and lo and behold, you have an open letter blockbuster.

Speaking of politics, dear Writer, I often moonlight in politico mailboxes. This, of course, is destiny. You see, there is no politician worth his salt who hasn’t received the dreaded open letter. They attract each other like bees to honey. This is because the open letter is really not ‘open’ to feedback, comments or rebuttals of any kind. Behind the comfortable security of a pseudonym, it has all the joys of trolling without the backlash. Such is its impeccable design.

You don’t even have to over think the body (that’s the part that comes after the salutation), you already sound smart! Or you must be, if readers get past the point where you go full disclosure on details of your personal journey and why it’s relevant to your debate. See what I mean? If this isn’t truly a gift to mankind, then I don’t know what is.

Moreover, dear Writer, the open letter magically bestows on the sender the title of Good Samaritan. So what if the bone of contention is an anti-national celebrity offspring name or the brusque tone of conversation taken on by primetime news show hosts? It’s all in the nature of goodwill. After all, if the common man won’t take it upon himself to revolutionize society one baby name at a time, who will?

You see, Open Letter Writer, I have been around for a long time. I was there when Martin Luther King Jr. urged non-violent resistance to racism from a prison cell. I carried news of the discovery of unexpected uses of uranium from Einstein to erstwhile president Roosevelt. I bore witness to the plea Gandhi wrote to Hitler on behalf of peace-loving citizens around the world.

But what writers of yesteryears didn’t cash in on is the pure marketing and publicity marvel that is the open letter. Theirs was a different call-to-action, in a world grappling the clutches of obsolete societal conventions; in no way relevant to our modern times. What’s more, it denied the taxpayer his rightful fifteen seconds of blink-and-miss fame.

So go knock yourself out, dear Open Letter Writer, for the world is your literary oyster. May you go viral like no one has before. And remember, #AlwaysEndWithThatHashtag.

Sincerely your friend and well-wisher,

The Open Letter.

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