THE LETTERS AND POSTBOXES BREAK UP STORY
WILL THERE BE NO POST BOXES VERY SOON IN MUMBAI?
Whenever one could not communicate anything to another person face to face (i.e. emotional, official, casual talks) it was observed that the use of letters played an important role. It just took some time for an individual to pick up a pen and a paper and write with a continuous flow of words, depending on the nature and purpose that it respectively tried to convey. The practice of writing letters , dropping them in post boxes and the post man becoming as a mediator between letter writers and receivers can be considered as a trademark that can be added in the traditional flavours of Mumbai.
In fact, Bollywood movies itself observed this traditional trend and featured it as a wonderful and satisfying task that most of us would undertake. ‘MAINE PYAAR KIYA’ is a movie which focused on the skill of writing letters. The letters were featured as the only way to bring the emotional connects between two lovers and were delivered by using the Pigeon as a mediator to do so. Later on, the Bollywood movies moved forward to bring up precise scenes with a personal touch. ‘Border’ conveyed the importance of letters and post boxes in its song-
Sandese aate hain, hame tad pate hain
toh chitthee aati hai, toh puchhe jati hai
Throughout this song, there were scenes shown where a soldier’s wife longs for the arrival of her husband’s letter. It tried to bring out an emotional approach of the important role the letters play which in fact is received with the help of post boxes and post men.
The kids of this generation hardly even see the post boxes around. ’Technology’ is now become a necessity which includes SMS, EMAILS, FACEBOOK CHATS etc. This in fact discourages writing of letters and dropping them into the post boxes. Is technology fully to be blamed for this change? Will the technologies bring a dead end to post boxes?
To find out the answer of these complicated questions, interviews were taken up by me and visits to different post boxes in were done as well. A planned trip to find post boxes in Vikhroli east and west, Andheri east and west, Vasai west was undertaken and got to knoe the views of different people.
The first search was completed when I could find a post box in the lokanwala area in Andheri west. Through interaction, A watchman said, “Even though I have a mobile, I prefer to write all my feelings for my wife and put it in a post box. Nothing else can convey what a letter can convey meaningfully.” Mr Deepak said. “Woh Jamana chala gaya jaha chitti se kaaam hota tha , ab toh ‘FAST-FAST’ jamana aa gaya hai.”
There was another post box found in the eastward chakala area of Andheri which conveys a different scenario as there is only one post box that is apparently restricted to be used from past 4-5 months. When people around were interviewed, these were the responses. Mr Atul stated, “ I can hardly see 4 or 5 people inserting letters in this post box and most of which the senior citizens do the needful.” Mr. Narayan said, “We middle class can’t go on filling balance in our mobiles, it’s far better to post letters. But right now due to restrictions, I am sorry to say that may be such post boxes will be shut down soon all over Mumbai”
In Vikhroli, Mr Sudarshan said, “This post box is hardly used. Oolta yeh toh thookneh ki jagah bun chukka hai, BMC bolti hai maintenance hamaree jimmedari nahi hai aur government bolta hai dekha jayega,,, aakhir kaun eeska jimmehdar hai?”
When the post master of Vikhroli said, “Gone are those days of 20,000 letters. Instead right now we just get 3000 to 4000 letters per month. This count does not mean the post boxes will not be seen, if it is not seen in the city area it will surely be seen in rural corners where there is more need of it.” Mr V.P Naidu said that if the post box disappears then the facilities of teaching the poor how to send emails should be made available.
Taking into consideration the entire different views, one can come to a conclusion that the disappearance of post boxes will continue to take place and there’s a need to utilize this small sign of heritage, which can be done only by writing valuable letters and appropriate maintenance.
TYBMM, SOPHIA COLLEGE