Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Experience with India Post

When your parents are in government service, you are raised to respect the government. You are provided justification upon justification on the state of affairs in the country, a matter of endless rants in most other households. Parents in government service come with perks, not limited to waiver of phone bills, vacations in guest houses, and rides in a stately chauffeured Ambassador. Many years later, you will look back at these days with a sigh of nostalgia while standing in line at the passport office or the RTO.

Recently, a popular entrance exam required its applicants to dispatch their applications using either ‘ordinary’ post or registered post. “Better send it a week before the deadline. You know how the postal department is”, a friend warned. How is it, I wondered and went to the post office that weekend. It was a heavily partitioned one-room space bustling with activity, much to my surprise. Hadn't we heard enough times that nobody uses physical mail or stamps these days? Well it appears as if India Post has found other ways to keep its staff employed and occupied. This is commendable when you read about several other legacy government organizations and PSUs deliberating on downsizing and hiring freezes every day.  IP probably learnt a thing or two about calculated hiring after telegraph spiralled downward.

The crowd around me was a mix of people from all walks of life—an elderly gentleman accessing his savings account, a few people buying envelopes, a lady sending multiple speed posts, and—to my delight—a young philatelist asking if there were new stamps released recently. My speed post was bar-coded and a tracking number was generated before one could say the name of a popular courier company. It would reach in two days, said the lady at the counter, to a destination halfway across the country. This with online tracking facility cost me about 60% less than the average private courier service.

A new relationship was forged that day. When I went there this morning to collect the entrance exam’s score card, I left with an inland letter (remember those?), envelopes and stamps to surprise my grandmother who loves receiving letters.