Sunday, 4 May 2008


In a very fast expanding Internet age with virtual mailboxes and virus laden spams, the proverbial snail mail is taking a back seat and the charm of receiving scribbled mails is becoming a thing of the past. The sad demise of the hand crafted posts has drastically changed our conception of receiving the sentimentally charged personalized communication which acted as the subtle touch of the near and dear as well as the not-so-familiar ones. It invariably had the raw smell of the persona and the memories associated with it. When the traditional mail was the almost only preferred form of connecting, people invariably waited every day of the week, month and year to be called by the friendly postman in an expectant afternoon, to hand over a humble looking post card, envelope, inland letter, parcel or insured covers having values to be treasured. In fact, people jealously kept the delivered postal communications for ages, even lasting their life time and beyond as memorabilia and the people who wrote them outlived their own lives. It was a joy to visit the communication hubs dotted throughout the length and breadth of the country. Then, communicating with others was so inexpensive that people cutting across the socio-economic divide made it a ritual of sending or receiving their letters for the sheer ecstasy associated with it. It too was quite exhilarating and relaxing to go to the post offices and no one thought it to be separated from his or her own personal world. The postmaster and the postman invariably acted as the natural extension to the school teachers and their suggestions and advices were sought and taken with all seriousness that it deserved.
The shiny red mail boxes symbolized hope and reaching out to the persons of our want and choice instantly—though at times it took weeks to get back their much longed after letters. Few lines also mattered greatly. Even though mostly people never had their personal mail boxes at the front of the doors of their houses, invariable the postman would see to it that the delightful wares were personally delivered to the actual recipients. The encounters were intimate and no one thought of putting a mailbox to miss the chance to exchange pleasantries with the ever smiling friendly postman. Even where the mailboxes were hung, they went defunct soon because their limitations (but not the possibilities) were also discovered by both the postman and the recipients for some unexplainable reasons. For this most probably they connived for their selfish ends. The entire affair of transacting the communication through the postal system was in fact a kind of culture for the people. This is very fast vanishing in a modern world where technologies have taken over the personal touch of communication with emotion.