The Vanishing Post Boxes of India

” You received a Speed Post Article for delivery. Thank You for Using India Post. Please track further status here. Download “Postinfo” India Post Android app at Google Playstore.” This is a message I received today morning and it brought me immense happiness because other than shopping deliveries and junk mail I rarely receive snail mail these days.

Growing up I used to religiously write letters to my friends who lived in other parts of India since I kept moving around and receiving a letter was one of those moments that defined a good day. It invariably started with ” How are you doing? I am doing fine” but for a 9 year old that is good prose. I have most of these letters kept safely tied with a red ribbon. In recent years I have progressively seen post boxes and post offices in India almost vanishing, hence I took it upon myself to start clicking them wherever I see them much to my husbands chagrin. Here are some of my best clicks so far.

Kolkata the city of Joy
Kolkatta

The post box inside Rabrindra Bari (Rabindranath Tagore’s house) in Kolkatta. This was a hot and humid day when my brother, my sis in law and me decided to explore Kolkatta without any itinerary. Most of the time hence was spent seeing locked museums, tram rides and following random strangers who asked us to follow them to the nearest metro station through the crowded and narrow lanes of old Kolkatta.

A Post Woman at a one room post office
Coorg

 

A Post office and the post woman which is next to an Anganwadi in Coorg, Karnataka. This was on a road trip to Coorg and driving through the hills and coffee plantations around Coorg. We had gone to buy spices at Gonicopal and crossed this small hamlet, when I got down to take a pic of this post office this lady came out and inquired where I was coming from and we exchanged some small talk as the children in the anganwadi next door chanted rhymes. She then posed for this pic for me the strange city dweller.

Post box on top of Nandi Hills on early misty morning

Post box on top of Nandi Hills one early misty morning. This was clicked on Republic day on Nandi Hills and apparently a quarter of Bangalore also had the same idea that morning. We saw the flag hoisted on top of this hill as the clouds swept over the hill. It was a lovely morning with friends after which we gorged on parathas from the Indian Paratha House which is en route.

A Post Office closed for the Navratri festival at Gokarna.
A Post Office closed for the Navratri festival at Gokarna.
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Cherrapunjee

A post office in the misty mountains of Cherrapunjee.

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The post office in Leh market at 14,000 Feet. Rarified air and rare letters from far a wide connecting this mountain abode with the rest of India.

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I took this pic inside the ISB campus on an official trip as a speaker at ISB. This is my first pic shot of a PO inside a campus.

 

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Have you heard of the Bid Wars in Kerala?

Every time the train crossed over to my home state from the Tamil Nadu or Karnataka border a thrill ran down my spine. After some umpteen train journeys we undertook every vacation to God’s Own Country I could distinguish the different states by looking at the landscapes outside the train window. While Andhra Pradesh had dramatic large rock formations and boulders, Tamil Nadu was easily recognized by its palm trees and then as soon as the train crossed over to Kerala it was an avalanche of coconut trees, lush greenery and tiled roof double storied houses with large compounds.

After the advent of the Konkan Railways the train journey itself was something to look forward to with the picturesque route the train took through deep valleys, water falls and sea shores. Kerala itself has a wide range of landscapes from the hilly regions in Malabar, to the tea gardens of Munnar, Coffee plantations in Wayanad, back waters and what not. Recently we also did a road trip along the length of the state and a food trip to my home town of Calicut which is known for its unique Mopla cuisine and hospitality. But we still are a bit restless because there are still some experiences that we yearn for like camping in the Silent Valley to staying over night in a house boat.

The Kerala Tourism department has launched an online bidding game offering holiday packages to the state at virtually no cost.The bid, aimed at domestic travellers, is organised as part of the ‘Visit Kerala 2015’ campaign.

Bid Wars Logo
For example:

A person ‘X’ bids for a package worth Rs. 20,000 with Rs. 10. The package will be awarded to him if no other bid is made which is less than or equal to Rs. 10. An Android based application has also being developed which will allow the Kerala Tourism Facebook fans to bid for packages right from their mobile devices.

Here are the links for you to check out:

For more details check out these links. Considering that this is the best time of the year to visit Kerala, get those bags out and start bidding.

The Day I Learnt that Being A Boy Was Probably More Valuable

I grew up in various parts of India, a fact that I am very proud of because it made me realize how diverse this country is while most of the issues and problems remain the same. My early childhood was spent in Gujrat and we lived in a neighbourhood which was largely middleclass. In the evening all the children would come out and play the regular games of hide and seek, seven stones and chor police.

Most of the girls had dolls but I was encouraged from home to play with all sorts of toys and not fixate on dolls. When I was around 6 years old I got a doll for my birthday. The doll almost came up to half my height and wore a dress, shoes and everything else that dolls wear. One of the favorite games the girls in the neighbourhood played in those days was getting dolls married. Girl dolls would get married to boy dolls like they do in the ‘proper’ Indian society.

The weddings themselves would be fun for the participating friends as some girls served real snacks at the weddings and got the dolls dressed up for the wedding in bridal clothes. One day a girl I vaguely knew came to me with a proposal to get my cherished girl doll to marry her boy doll. I was pretty excited about having a doll wedding and planning a doll wedding till I heard the actual terms of the wedding.

According to norm after the wedding my doll would go to this friends house and be with her dolls and would only occasionally visit me!  So in short this friend of mine would gain two dolls while I lost the only one I had. As you can imagine the wedding got called off quickly and my doll has lived a great life being a spinster with some occasional setbacks like being drawn on her forehead with a marker or losing her ribbons but overall I am sure she won’t complain. The doll still resides in my mothers cupboard like most cherished toys do.

A Handy Guide For Booking Low Cost Domestic Flights Internationally – Infographic

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This list of cheap domestic flights in these 6 countries has been created based on the research and flights we have booked during our travels from 2011 to 2015. Hope you find it useful in your travels. If you would like to add to this list please do so in the comments below.