A few days back I received a parcel. It wasn’t delivered by the courier boy nor was it a delivery of an online purchase. But it was our good old postman who had brought the parcel. I realised that I rarely see a postman nowadays. Not that they have ceased to exist but because my interactions with them have reduced to almost minimal. Most of the letter delivery was now being delivered by the courier boy.
But there was a time when daily, I would wait for the postman eagerly. I knew what he looked like, during what time he would deliver letters on our street and also recognised the sound of his bicycle bell. He was like my Santa, except that he came everyday.
I would be sitting at the window then, constantly gazing at the entrance, waiting for the postman to come ringing in and drop letters into our letter box. As soon as he would do that, I would spring out of the door and get those letters in no time. There would be all sorts of letters, from friends and relatives, official letters, invitations – just about any written communication would be coming in through the post. But of course, the most I would look forward to was the letters sent by my friends. And replying to them was a passionate hobby. I certainly had enough stock of all postal stationary – inland letters, postal cards, envelopes, stamps, etc. I would take care that the stock was refilled timely. I knew what cost of stamps were required for which type of post and also knew the postal rates. I also knew at which places the post boxes stood and their daily clearance timings. My favourite one though, was at the main post office, where there would be many post boxes standing in a line, each painted in a different colour and each assigned a metropolitan city or a state or a group of states & union territories.
Now, it has been years since I’ve been to a post office. I do not know what the current rates are. I do not know when the postman comes to our street. My little stock of postal stationary remains unused since ages. All the communication has now turned digital. Of course, that saves a lot of paper, which is environmentally good. But it certainly doesn’t have the anxiety of waiting for a letter for days and then replying, posting and then again waiting for days for a reply. The beautiful art of letter writing slowly crawls into extinction.
Though these personal letters delivered by the postman must have reduced in number, the official and business communication still does keep the postman busy. From the 18th century when the postal services were started by the East India company to the current day of India post, the postman hasn’t changed much. Though, his attire has changed, he continues to travel the highs and lows of the region, to deliver letters, parcels or money in cities, towns and also in the far fetched and remote areas. Perhaps, it is this reach of his that e-commerce portals have tied up with India Post for the delivery of their merchandise in smaller towns. So, somewhere in such a smaller town, the good old postman is still being awaited with as much anxiety as I did years ago. Yes, the good old postman, not because he could be an aged person, but because we know him since ages.
Credit to the pictures of the postman goes to Kerala post and imagesofasia.com.