memories

The Post Office

Have any of you been to a local post office recently…well , I had been to one yesterday.

Nowadays, with emails and especially, WhatsApp, you really don’t find any major reason for visiting the post office .

But yesterday was another day…and I had to visit the local post office. Like any other government office, I had to perform the most common tradition…stand in a serpentine queue.

There were 4 windows having their own queues. In the good old days the post offices used to be very dark places…as if the light was banned.

Well this is no longer the case, with the office being well lighted. But many other things continue as before. …for eg. You still cannot see which master is sitting on the other side of the window unless you reach right at the window…and here too you have to move your head up and down…to see his entire face.

But really , why bother seeing the masters face, when actually it is his pen which is going to write your destiny.!

Anyways I stood in the serpentine queue and started observing the surroundings to pass the time.

The first person to catch my attention was this wig wearing fellow standing just ahead of me…what a funny wig it was…if you have seen the old Ramayana or Mahabharata on DD…remember the flowing curving wigs that all the men folk in these serials used to flaunt…well it was just the same….and was this man sweating profusely!!..

Maybe  it was due to the combination of a hardly there fan which was rotating overhead, plus the wig…and he had this ugly habit of wiping the sweat away from his brow with the crook of his fingers and in a single shake of his hands, depositing the sweat on the floor.

When he did this the first time , he managed to deposit some of it on me too…so I became very alert to this movement of his and whenever he tried it again, I used to jump to the side…

I then noticed a small girl who had come with her grandmother. Now this small 4 year old was the epitome of patience…every 5 minutes she was asking her grandmother, “aaji, when will we go home?”.

Her grandmother belonged to that group of denizens called the agents …agents for the various schemes offered by the post office.

And the grandmother had that aggressive demeanour which comes naturally to those working in this field …but there were 6 other ladies belonging to the same family of agents…and here’s where everything went out of hand.

Since all of these agents wanted their own work to be done first , the decibel level went through the roof !

And I developed a new found respect for the man behind the counter….he had a zen master like calm on his face…or whatever face was visible through the window.

He was facing this scenario almost every day of the week.

Finally through all this chaos and noise I finally reached the window…only to be told that for the transaction to be concluded, xerox of the PAN Card is required.

That I had the Aadhar card copy cut no ice with him…really it’s very frustrating that the card for which you took a hard earned leave from office, and took this leave coordinating with my wife’s leave as well as my daughter’s leave, stood in line for 3 hours, sat in front of a camera which clicks the most obnoxious selfies, arranged so many different types of documents for verification, is not really the most demanded verification document….well the frustration levels are bound to be stretched to breaking point.

I tried all possible ways to persuade the person sitting behind the window to accept the lone document I was carrying …but to no effect.

At this point I could well imagine myself to be a lowly village worker at the mercy of a rich zamindar who holds all the strings of his fate…

Finally I had no other option but to go back home to fetch the PAN card copy after wasting a better part of the day standing in the wretched serpentine queue…
Have you ever had such an experience friends.

Yatindra Tawde

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