I felt a little out of sorts this morning. When that happens, I usually check in with my to-do list and try to pick something to do – depending on the duration of pepping up I need. So yes, this time it looked like I’d need to switch off for a few hours, what with the continuous power cuts. One of those days when our electricity department seems fidgety and nervous, as if its mind is elsewhere and it can’t focus. Rather like me, today. For each one hour off, we were getting 10 minutes of “on” time. Ah well, can’t argue with the government and I did what I do best – look at the silver lining.
Today’s silver lining was my cupboard.
Now this cupboard is something I’ve been trying to clear /sort /rearrange for months now. But the problem is, each time I get to it, I just end up settling down with one of the boxes of memories – the cupboard is full of them.
Resolving not to do that today, I started with an easier to tackle shelf. One shelf is full of books. Ha! Bad idea because books are just as addictive. Yet, I quickly emptied the shelf, then rearranged it back more compactly than before. Then I got to the next one, knowing fully well that I might or might not get past it.
I picked up a bulky folder with papers, letters, greeting cards and what nots. More what nots than anything else. Among these, I found a lot of unused postal stationery. I couldn’t stop grinning at the post card – see the image on top? Yes.That’s the one. I remembered those days when our sole means of communication was this post card – with a few lines for the whole world to see – which may or may not matter. But imagine the post man getting first dibs at it – and then the nosy neighbors. That’s exactly what happened.
And? Imagine the rest of the family getting to read it before the intended recipient….and the interrogation and inquisition that followed – all because the sender just didn’t think of using an inland cover – that dingy blue blotty sheet of paper that folded and could be sealed to be sent off.
Of course, very clever family members were familiar with the art of steaming it open and fixing it right back, as good as new.
The postcards were often dreaded missiles. Relatives we did not really want to host would send them ahead of their arrival. We would wickedly think of denying receiving the card – which was quite stupid, since they would land up anyway, and all we got out of it was an unnecessary argument. No telephones at home those days, you see!
Sometimes, the card would arrive after the unwelcome guests had left, as if to rub it in and say, “ha, ha! Gotcha!”
These cards were usually used for announcements, invitations and quick messages. There were those who used every mm of it to squeeze in all they wanted to say and often spilled into the address area. If it was a wedding or celebration, we gave the corners that yellow hue from wet turmeric, just to show it was good news.
In spite of all this, we waited eagerly for the postman who sailed around on his bicycle with the bundle of assorted letters in his hand. A registered letter would usually mean an important document. An envelope would be met with much curiosity. A telegram was simply assumed to bear bad news. A money order? Yay!, of course!
Great memories, though.
Those were the days eh? I am glad I lived then…..and I am glad I am here now, in the digital age, when communication is instant with WhatsApp, email and text messages. Of course, I still rely on India Post to deliver my parcels and letters!
Here’s my lovable post box!