Recently I had been to a Stamp exhibition and was amazed at the kinds and types of [...]
Recently I had been to a Stamp exhibition and was amazed at the kinds and types of stamps that have been used as postage not just in India but world over! It was at this exhibition that I picked up a book called, "An Approach to history of Post Office in India and Other Essays" by Shivanath. And the first few lines in this book got me thinking – "The Indian Postal System… is also the largest- over 141,000 post offices and 4,96213 letter boxes on 31 Mar 82" Imagine if one were to count the email ids world over into which so many messages are being posted every second!
It is interesting to note also that there was a time when those little gentle doves were used as messengers to convey messages to people over great distances. And today the symbol of Twitter- a bird, brings us full circle – we have a bird that now tweets our messages in less than a second!
Pigeon coops to inboxes, each letter or correspondence slotted into their respective boxes, categorized and delivered. Some go haywire and are often lost forever- either in some post office or in space!
It makes me wonder – do I want the message replied instantly, or would a waiting period like in the past be more to my liking? That leisurely pace that one could take and reply to a message is no longer there. A word here or there without thought can hurt. The internet is full of "ways to communicate", "ways to write that perfect email", ways to communicate to your boss on that promotion", etc etc.
A letter on which poets wrote poetic verses brings to mind James Langston Hughes poem – Little Ole Letter
It was yesterday morning
I looked in my box for mail.
The letter that I found there
Made me turn right pale.
Just a little old letter,
Wasn’t even one page long—
But it made me wish
I was in my grave and gone.
I turned it over,
Not a word writ on the back.
I never felt so lonesome
Since I was born black.
Just a pencil and paper,
You don’t need no gun or knife—
A little old letter
Can take a person’s life.
This little verse on how a letter could change a person’s life still holds true today as too an email can also change a person’s life! However, this verse talks about so much more – of times past and the use of pencil and paper, or what it meant to be if of another skin color. So be it snail mail or email or the bird messenger or twitter – once the message gets conveyed the consequences could be instant or delayed- but reactions it will be.
One hardly sees those little red post boxes on the street anymore- and I miss those like landmarks and liked this ode to a postbox All these fast disappearing street markers, besides the fire hydrants, are remnants of interesting incidents that caught the fancy of a poet or writer and evoked interesting street scenes, something the email inboxes can hardly ever evoke or can they?