Two Hour Letter Posting
If you are homesick and thinking of coming back to India, think again. Arret! Stop! Achtung!Parada!
My printer’s ink cartridge was stolen (yes of course this can happen too when you are here) by some good for nothing person. I had to send a letter urgently. It was a Saturday. Post offices close by noon on a Saturday.
Why did I need to send a hard copy? It was a government department and their email address was defunct. Reason? They cannot handle so many emails. They would also get trapped because then they would not be able to deny having received the letter.
I typed out my letter and mailed it to my email address. Now I had to go to a cyber café and open my mail and print the retrieved letter. Unfortunately there is only one cyber café in our locality. The owner of the shop depends on his helper to open the shop. The gentleman decided on that day to come in late.
I made two trips to the market. I lost one hour in that. Finally when the cyber café was open the two computers were already occupied by some internet surfers. I waited twenty minutes to access and print my mail. While the letter was being printed there was a power failure. I looked at the café helper. ‘Don’t worry back up will kick in.’ I sat there not worrying but worrying despite his smooth command. Finally, of course I had not brought an envelope, my fault. The stationer seeing a morning prey refused to sell a single envelope. I had to buy a packet of twenty envelopes which I am certain will last me a life time.
I got into my car. Someone had parked behind me. It is a paid parking. The attendant searched for the owner and found him eating samosas in a nearby shop. Finally I could get out. Lo and behold a traffic jam. Two gentlemen of whereIknow not were disputing their rights of entry and exit. I decided to take the long way around and reached the tiny post office which I am sure only the neighbours and I know about. There are no signposts anywhere marking its existence. It is a secret post office.
I began writing the address on the envelope at the Speed Post counter. ‘Hurry up’ said the lady, ‘I am closing in two minutes!’ I scrawled quickly.
‘Seventeen rupees’ she said peremptorily. I gave two tens.
‘I don’t have change.’
I dug through my wallet and came up with the exact amount. Time of mailing 11:59. Why Speed Post? It has a tracking number and you can check when the letter was delivered to the government department so that they will not be able to deny it.
Sadly, they did deny it. They told me to sue them, glared at me and sipped at their sweet tea.
You are welcome ladies and gentlemen to a country where you are helpless against red tape. You are just a human body existing in a limbo land of despair and apathy. You have rights but you have to fight for them every time you step out of the house. Welcome to India. The system works only for bureaucrats, civil servants and politicians.