Tuesday, July 12, 2016

We all are tuned to cope up with the delays and defaults of government services. Yes, in India, approaching a government office is generally perceived as “the job of the jobless;” and if anyone dares to do that, he/she should be prepared to buy “ thousand pairs of sandals” before getting the task done (Courtesy: a commercial from a footwear company). For the same reason I had developed an aversion towards India Post services when I was living in metros, far away from my family in Kerala. The indefinite wait for receiving a registered post or a letter from my family had often made me vent my anger on the lifeless bricks of my house. It was when I fell prey to the ‘lightning speed’ promises of the private courier companies. . 

Surprisingly, the story has a different twist now. India Post has evolved to a tech-savvy, people friendly service; on the other side, the courier mafia has grown arrogant and unapproachable. I am totally unhappy with the way private courier companies are handling the service; and trust me, now I am in deep love with India Post speed post service! Yes, India Post has transformed a lot; they are no more the slowpoke, but are the people-friendly mail delivery service of the new-age Indian. 

The process is simple, but highly professional. I book the post at a post office at a minimum price; it costs less than half of private courier service. My mobile number is attached to the packet. The moment the party receives the packet, I get an SMS. In case someone sends me a packet where my number is mentioned I get the message as soon as it reaches my post office. What’s more impressive is that you can track the packet, bit by bit – done in a superb way – much more professional than the so-called professional couriers! (See the image below).

Have you ever approached a private courier helpline and have you ever succeeded in getting a satisfactory answer from them? If yes, you are lucky! I have had enough bad experience from them. The numbers given in the website never get on their way. In case I succeed in connecting one of them, the executives play smarter by re-directing our calls to the next agent or asking us to contact the next branch office, and so on. Frustrated, I have also filed a legal case against a courier firm that failed to deliver a cheque to my old mother. They asked her to travel a long 25 km to collect the packet. The reason: they don’t have the service in that remote village. 

Yes, here’s the success of our own India Post that has 154,866 post offices, (89.8% of which belong to rural India). Hats off to the visionaries of this postal system; now we are able to connect anyone in any corner of India- even in places where telephone, cable TV and electricity are distant dreams. I was sad when the Department of Posts announced the “demise” of Telegram services a few years ago. I feared the same will happen to the Inland letter, post card, post cover and those sticky stamps, all of which still sleep in the treasure box of my romantic days! Indeed, they arouse the nostalgic at the same time exciting memories of those days when I eagerly waited for the postman carrying the letter/ greetings from my boyfriend! 

Memories will fade away, so are the materials on earth that build those memories. In this age of e-mail, Whatsapp and 123greetings.com, there is no point in worrying about the fate of inland, post cards, and the like; but I still feel we should preserve our postal network without any damage to it, and uphold its integrity of serving the people in a democratic way. I am optimistic seeing the evolution of our age-old post-office to a banking center, a pension/PF shelter for elderly, an e-commerce collection center, and much more in offing. 

Yes, there is no substitute for India Post. It’s the heart of the country, circulating its pulses across the borders and within. We should never let it die.

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