World of India!: BizNpersonalfinance : Post card to the Indian Postal service from Basab Pradhan e

World of India!

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BizNpersonalfinance : Post card to the Indian Postal service from Basab Pradhan

When was the last time you wrote a letter using snail post? Mine was almost 15 years back, and I remember it well, because I had wrote it to my eldest sister and her hubby,just after they got married.

Since then-zilch.

I even declared my romantic intentions clear to my then girlfriend (and now wife) by e-mail. But all things considered, this is the only occasion where an urban Indian with access to the Net seems to be writing letters, if at all, but even that must be on the downhill. This is frowned upon by most purists. A friend of mine not only writes letters but does so on the handmade and scented variety, with only an ink pen, when it comes to declaring his romantic intentions. He believes that this works (among other things), every time.

For me the Indian Post is synonymous to the smell of gum, red seal, gunny bags, paper,the sounds of decrepit fans whirring away, sullen post office employees who treat you like dirt and the redoubtable faithful postman chugging along on his bicycle. In fact, the last is an institution who almost anyone in India would have positive feelings towards.The postman is the king of the tribe who wants to enter residential societies/house. Everyone else is shooed away with contempt (at least in many of our gated communities)- vegetable vendors, salesmen, kabadiwallah- but the postman is welcomed with a warm smile. Many postmen also develop lasting relationships of warmth and goodwill with the people they serve, some times for generations. When I was a kid, and the man servant supposed to pick me up did not arrive at the stipulated time, I was picked up by a postman who recognised me and took me to the neighbouring post office. When I was asked my mothers name by other postmen, I replied that I was the son of Lata Mangeshkar (My mothers name was Hemlata). Although, I had marked this wrong address on myself, the postman duly dropped me off at the correct one, along with an assorted bunch of letters.

I recall all this after reading Basab Pradhan's excellent post on the Indian Postal service and what ails it. Basab might be interested to know that attitudes at the senior level of the Indian Post are changing and energetic efforts are being made to shore up revenues in partnership with the private sector, like in this particular case, among many others. My wife recently met some top honchos at the Indian post for distribution tie ups of her companies products, and the response was very positive and in a few months,the initiative even took off the ground sucessfully.

But it is true that such initiatives alone won't pull the Indian post out of the depths that it finds itself in, right now. As Basab points out, major surgery is needed, and fast.

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