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The snail mail saga

"high resolution blank Indian postcard with old stamp and postmark, ready to fill the letters you want, then send it to your friend.Related mail backgrounds:"  

The yellow postcard and blue inland letter were once an integral part of life. But they have lost their popularity, largely in urban India, after the invasion of e-mail and instant messaging, robbing us of the charm of writing on paper.

If communication means in India have grown by leaps and bounds over the years and become hi-tech, the humble postcard and the inland letter have played striking and substantial roles in our earlier lives, carrying a personal touch and helping develop emotional bonds.

They instantly evoke strong feelings of the iconic red postboxes that were once close to our hearts and stood majestically on the streets, promptly displaying the time of clearance of the letters. Most of us cannot forget that often we used to rush to the postbox in our street and hand over letters to the postal assistants when they take letters to the post office in a gunny bag.

Years ago, my wife and I participated in a television contest through a postcard, which won us a grand prize. And when I shared our joy with our novelist uncle, he promptly wrote back on a postcard, congratulating us. Needless to say, we still preserve that postcard as a memorabilia. Communication these days may be swift, yet they remain lifeless. But a handwritten postcard can be preserved.

The postman those days was considered an extended member of the family, the bridge between two ends, delivering letters, money orders and registered mails. If someone cannot read, he, with a little prodding and promise of a few rupees, would read out the letter. Many would have read about Bhim Bahadur Tamang who trudges through metres of snow at a height of 14,000 feet to deliver mails across the border pass of Nathu La in Sikkim.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, as I write a letter to my friend in New Delhi, my memories fly back to the good olden days of the postman, short in size, frequently knocking on our door with his familiar voice calling, “Sir, post.”

siva19kumar@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 12:03:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-snail-mail-saga/article33828181.ece

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