Thursday, October 10, 2013

Snail mail will slide on, feel old hands at Postal Department

Dear Comrades,

E-mails, text messages and Skype may have taken the sheen off snail mail, but the conventional postal delivery mechanism still has enough fight left in it, Bhuvanendran Nair V of Thycaud post office will tell you.

 ‘’Most people think postal services are dead with the arrival of sophisticated communication technologies. I won’t agree as the quantity of mail has increased manifold compared to previous decades. Initially, there were only 10 to 15 bags to be handled a day, but now the situation is different. The other day, we had to deliver around 40 bags,’’ he says.

 In the cyber age, the public can pick and choose between communication methods. For some, it is SMS or e-mail and for others, Skype or WhatsApp. The thrill and excitement of receiving a much-awaited inland is something strange to the new generation. To them, people like Bhuvanendran Nair may seem an anachronism. But they too had their age of glory. That past age is remembered on October 9, celebrated as the World Post Day as decided by the Universal Postal Union Congress held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1969. In India, the succeeding day is observed as the National Postal Day.
 Bhuvanendran Nair explains why business continues to boom for snail mail. ‘’A large number of periodicals, bank notifications and bills of various agencies continue to be sent through post. Even separate sections have been started to sort notices from LIC and KSFE,’’ he says.
 ‘’Technology has never created obstacles to the functioning of the department. Instead, it has supported the designing of new and widely popular projects such as speed post,’’ he adds.

 Bhuvanendran Nair, who hails from Kattakkada, started his career as an ‘extra departmental delivery agent’ in 1974 and continued in the post for nine years. His salary at the time was Rs 72 a month. He became a full-time employee as postman in 1983 with a salary approximately Rs 200 a month.
 ‘’When I joined the department in the 70s, the celebrity status and the respect given to a postman by the public were major motivations to opt for this job. I often boast that I have given the maximum number of appointment orders to youngsters than any employer. Words are too weak to express the happiness I feel when a few among them still greet me with smiles of gratitude,’’ he says.

 ‘’Mostly, family members of armed forces personnel, pensioners and families of NRIs anticipated my arrival with many hopes,’’ he remembers.

 His first posting was at Pappanamcode and then he moved to Nemom. Twenty-eight years of his professional life were spent at Peyad post office. He will now retire from Thycaud post office as a sorting post man with a salary of around Rs 30,000.

   Bhuvanendran Nair considers the recent withdrawal of the telegraph a ‘mature’ decision of the department, ‘’since the message is significant here, not the medium.’’

 ‘’There are faster and better alternatives for transferring messages within a fraction of a second. Therefore, the telegraph has little scope now,’’ he says.
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