Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Thumps up for the Indian post office in Raipur

Sending letters is a nice and more personal way to communicate with friends in this well connected world. Especially, when being abroad. Staying in India, I took the chance to send a letter to my friend and it became an unexpectedly good experience.

When I had finished my letter, the idea was to buy stamps take it to the letter box and say “bon voyage” to it. The idea was brilliant in my opinion and so I asked people where to find stamps. Asking around I quickly got an answer, that sounded reasonable to me: at the post office. To be on the safe side I had decided to visit the main post office.

Entrance of Head Post office

Entrance of Head Post office

When I had arrived there, the counter for stamps was closed for lunch break. This was suspicious from the beginning, since it was not even 11 o’clock, but I decided to wait. After 30 minutes I decided to queue at another counter to get further information. At the post office were 18 counters, where only two were open. One for banking services and the other for postal services. The choice was easy. At first I felt uncomfortable in the building, where it was very hot, but people helped me a lot and took care that I didn’t lose my place in the queue and in front of the fan cooler. Then people asked questions about me and why I was in Raipur and I talked to local people and listened to both new and old stories. My favourite question I was asked was, why I wouldn’t just send emails. More than an hour and some selfies later it was my turn. Unfortunately, the official didn’t speak a single word English and my accent in Hindi is hard to understand. But again people helped me and translated for me, that the counter for stamps was closed. “Well observed, Sir!”, I thought. Then I figured out the reason for the closed counter was one of the many Indian holidays. With my gained knowledge I left the office back home passing one of the lovely red letter boxes on the way.

Indian letter box

Indian letter box

I did not reach my goal that day, but I had learned new things and visited an Indian post office for the first time in my life. When I came back the other day it was very busy at the post office. Luckily, the counter of my desire was open. I needed a lot of time in the queue, again. My queuing fellows were entertaining and made the waiting time fly, as it was at the first time. Then it was my turn, I was really sure it would be a cinch. But again it was the wrong counter. A girl from the woman’s queue translated: “you need to go to counter seven first to fill in four forms”. Confused I stand in front of counter eight. Almost! Thank you Ma’am, I answered and smiled friendly.

At counter seven all my problems were solved. The post lady spoke English and was unbelievably helpful and friendly. I really enjoyed the twenty minutes at counter seven, when I filled in all the required forms, even though it felt like more writing than my whole letter was. Out of her mouth the whole procedure sounded so easy, I felt secure and safe. Sadly, as in most relationships the time of separation came, when the lovely lady of counter seven revealed I would have to go back to the other counter. My heart was broken, it was not easy to remain smiling, it was a sad farewell. Standing in line at counter eight was my sad time after the break up. After the most depressing ten minutes in an Indian post office, my wonderful counter seven lady asked me kindly to come back to her. I couldn’t desist, I needed her and I forgave her. After another minute she made everything work and me happy again. Finally, I said farewell to the nice person at counter seven and bon voyage to my letter.

In the end, sending an email would have been much quicker and more convenient, but wouldn’t have made me smile the whole day. It showed me again how helpful and caring people in the City of Raipur are. Three weeks later I got the message, that the letter has had arrived. Mission accomplished.

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