I do not write letters these days, ( am sure most of us don't and social networking is in this shape today) and so there is very little chance for me to know that post boxes can actually go missing. They have painted it Red for everyone to see clearly...( Makes me think, should we research on why post boxes are mostly painted in Red? I have seen Blue and Green boxes very rarely.)
A bright Saturday.... If mentioning the time of the day would give a better idea, here you go.. It was 12:15 P.M. I had posted a banking form last week through a popular courier service and as it had to happen, it has not got delivered till today, even as I write this post. So I decided to resend it by post. At worst speed, it would still reach its destination in three days. I walked to the nearest stationery store and bought stamps, covers and glue stick. I wrote the address on the envelope right then and headed straight to the bank to get the form. Once done, I sealed my now complete postal cover with the new glue stick and gave my proud work an appreciative look..
Now, you have to understand that after my initial job hunt days, I have not been so smart to have a postal job completed in a single day - Buy the cover, write the address, write the return address, paste a stamp, place the letter or form or whatever needs to be posted, seal the envelope and then post it. If you see, its a total task in itself , especially in the Internet days.... So I was too proud than I can explain here..
It was 12:50P.M.. I came out of the bank and looked around. I have memories of the post boxes being hung on tree trunks and lamp posts in this city... I am still Bangalore, but since I have never recently posted anything, I say memories...So, I looked around and not finding any post box on the first few trees in sight I asked the security guards outside some offices and shops.. They didn't seem to know. They all directed me to a place called Tippasandra.
I had some work in 100 ft. Road, Indra Nagar. So thought I'll get that done. I took an auto rickshaw. On the way, I checked every corner, tree trunk, lamp post, compound walls of stores and .. lets just say everywhere...No Red box in sight. My watch showed 1: 15P.M when I finished my work and stepped out again on the pursuit of the Red Box.
This time, I decided to walk home. On the way, I continued my search.... all the way could not stop wondering about the fact that people in Indra Nagar have to actually go to the post office to post a letter and there is just no post box in a reachable distance.... The postal department would have taken a quick statistics of the number of letters in each post box in the Indra nagar zone and would have decided to take the red boxes off because there were few or no letters at all. When everyone else is talking about cutting costs, why would the India post spend time and energy and money to send someone to pick up letters in each post box?
With all these thoughts bringing back memories of my childhood when I was taught the art of letter writing at home... and about how we used to write to near and dear ones. I also remembered the numerous letters that I exchanged with my close friends in schools and college. And that was not too long ago...
With all the thought trails and continuing the pursuit of the Red box, I finally reached the same shop from where I had picked up the postal needs. Few months back, I recalled seeing a post box in the lamp post close to that shop. My watch showed 1:35P.M and I was kind of positive about getting the job done in a few minutes. Walked over to the lamp post and saw no signs of the Red box... It was so unbelievable that the only post box I knew of in that part of the road went missing.... I didn't want to give up.. Went ahead to search for the box, just in case it had been moved to another lamp post or tree trunk.
With some hope left, I spoke to the stationer and came to know at all post boxes in Indra Nagar have been removed and the one last chance I had was to walk over to the nearest hospital, called CMH. Still unable to believe that the only post box in that zone has gone missing and with fading hopes of finding a post box anywhere, I continued my walk towards CMH.
There it was, Red, Bright and for a second the India post sign on it seemed like it smiled at me... For the first time after my childhood's wide-eyed, ever-curious, wonder lessons about post boxes, I gave it a careful look. Nothing about the Red box has changed much, but somewhere deep, I felt that the post box is heading towards extinction and would soon become a museum artifact, an entry in the Indian History book for children and a definite entry in the Heritage City setups in future. [We have heritage village set-up today..... Dakshin Chitra, Chennai is a good place to visit in case you want to know what I am referring to here..]
It was 1:45P.M. I double checked if that post box is being cleared each day and was relieved to see that it gets cleared at 2:30 P.M every afternoon.
Hoping that India post has taken these boxes off this area in Bangalore temporarily for some valid reason, I headed home... Makes me wonder if I should start collecting some stamps too, just in case post box hits the museum... I can say, I had once used these printed papers to post mark my letters... :-)
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