New Delhi: When was the last time you penned a sweet love letter? In the age of emoticons and e-mails, the personal touch has died down. So, be different this Valentine`s Day - dump the keyboard and use the pen and paper.
Delhi-based marriage and relationship expert Kamal Khurana says an e-mail or SMS can never emote the feelings that a handwritten love note or letter can on the special day Feb 14.
"The handwriting in a letter always gives a personal touch. One can gauge various emotions through the handwriting. So a letter will be a tangible object that can be read again and again. And if you add a fragrance or a dried rose flower between the sheets, it makes a letter special," Khurana from Purple Alley relationship institute, a counselling centre, told IANS.
A letter takes time to reach and Khurana feels the long wait builds up the right excitement.
"Waiting for it impatiently and then reading a letter has its own charm, whereas an e-mail is quick, instant, and then you have artificial emotional icons to express yourself as well," he said.
Pawan Gadai, CEO of Ferns and Petals, said: "We have a facility for handwritten notes to be attached with flowers. Hundred percent bouquets have short notes attached to them. Some write it themselves, some e-mail it in case of an online booking, and there are some who dictate it on the phone.
"But, yes, long love notes are a rarity. Only five percent people believe in writing proper notes that is sent with the flowers," said Gadai.
A recent Hotmail survey conducted on MSN India revealed that almost 54 percent Indians rely on e-mails to keep their romance alive in the new era of "Up in the air" lifestyles.
In fact, close to 50 percent of the respondents said they exchange saucy e-mails to keep their relationship steamy whereas 20 percent frequently exchange romantic or flirtatious e-mails. As many as 33 percent of the respondents exchange romantic or saucy images to fuel passions.
Most surprisingly, 30 percent respondents revealed they have told someone they love them for the first time through an e-mail and 57 percent have even proposed via the virtual route!
For 19-year-old Prashant Sood, letters are an "old" way of expressing love in an age of instant noodles and speed-dating.
"Who has the time? It`s very funny, even to imagine, first writing a letter, then going to a post office - those were the old days. We (new generation) are very quick with actions. And who has the patience to wait for a letter?" said Sood.
"Imagine writing a letter in SMS lingo? Even our spellings are corrected by the spell-check, so the thought of writing a letter is very old school to me," he added.
Vijay Batra, a relationship expert, agrees that handwritten notes have a special space, but says they are not the right medium for those into a long distance relationship.
"See it entirely depends on a relationship. How genuine you are? Cheating happens everywhere and people these days blame technology for that," said Batra.
But for some chivalry is still important and they would prefer flowers with handwritten love notes, which have a shelf life.
For 24-year-old Kriti Dhingra, the online medium can be the most unromantic way of expressing love.
"Online messages, e-mails and posts can be most unromantic. I would love it if my guy writes a letter to me, or sends me small teaser notes...it`s cute and a tangible remembrance that you can cherish for life. The charm of an online post dies down too soon," she said.
"If I receive a handwritten letter then that will mean the person has taken time out to write to me," added Dhingra.
Journalist Manu Sharma is among those youngsters who still believes in the old world way of expressing love.
"I always write notes for my boyfriend, be it Valentine`s Day or his birthday. He also likes receiving such notes from me and enjoys reading them. He loves going back to the notes again and again," said 23-year-old Manu.