April 3, 2002  

Inspiration for the day




Old Issues

About Us



Joseph Stephen Moraes, Pulluvila, Thiruvananthapuram 695526

At a time when Chat and Instant Messenger are the throb of the youth, any talk about pen pals would sound as anachronistic as bullock carts on the highway.  But isn’t that the reality of Bharat?  You will see bullock carts trudging the slow track while modern cars zip along the fast track – all along the same highway.

JSM of Pulluvila.P.O, India may be unknown to you and me.  But the Postal Department does deliver without mistake such letters to Joseph Stephen Moraes, a doyen of pen friendship. Not surprising when you consider that friends from more than 60 countries write to him.

How did it all begin?  During 1983-84, while he was resting at home after academic pursuits, came the letter that literally changed the life of Stephen Moraes.  The letter was from an Israeli, Dheylan Isaac.  Stephen couldn’t make out how a person from Israel could get his address.  More intriguing was the attitude of the stranger from far off writing to someone in Kerala.

Nevertheless, Joseph replied to Isaac’s letter as if he were writing to an intimate, lifelong friend.  The correspondence continued.  Slowly, the circle of his pen friendship became wider and wider.

He had a chequered academic life. Later Joseph decided to take up some job to meet the expenses for his intercontinental friendship.  The positions he held include salesman, ship fabricator, optical technician, sales executive etc.

Each letter is a unique experience for Joseph.  Some bring joys and sorrows while some others bring coins, currency and stamps.

Among the numerous letters he has received, his cherished possession is a letter from Pope John Paul II.  It was in reply to the second consecutive birthday greeting sent by him.

JSM with some of his Korean pen friends.


Courtesy: B.T.Anil Kumar, Kerala Kaumudi

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