The Rise And Fall Of The ‘Daakiya’ And The Bygone Days Of Post Boxes!

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Post Box Image: Garima Sharma
Post Box Image: Garima Sharma
Post Box Image: Garima Sharma

With the development of postal and courier systems, post boxes are sidelined and rarely used. Read how technology and convenience has taken over the little red post box in our city and what it means for our men in khakhi.

When was the last time you dropped a letter or postcard in a post box? The first thing one would be worried about is where do you find one? And even if you’ve found one when will the postman pick your letters and deliver them to their destination? Will it reach safely? The answers to these questions is what we at MumbaiMag set out to find.

Recent changes in the postal process have made posting very convenient and user-friendly. Online couriers, door-to-door pickups, online tracking system, several courier services and help lines have simplified this process and made post boxes passé. Or have they?

Post box located at Takshila Main gate, Andheri East
Post box located at Takshila Main gate, Andheri East Image: Syrah

Reliable No More
Priyamvada Chopra, a 24-year-old media professional says, “I prefer the online courier system where the postman comes to pick your letter or parcel and you can track it online. I haven’t really seen a postbox in my area. I wouldn’t drop anything in a postbox as I don’t think it’s reliable. My letter could be misplaced or robbed. In fact, door-to-door pickups are better as you get a receipt and you can track the location of your letter.”

Other youngsters like her also agreed with the fact that post boxes are not very reliable. Anil Fernandes, a 26-year-old educator says, “Post boxes are rarely used these days. I don’t think I can depend on postboxes. I’d rather send it through private services that offer better deals and are also quick. They are more authentic.”

Sadhu and the post box Image: Garima Sharma
Sadhu and the post box Image: Garima Sharma

Old Is Gold
However, Albert Fernandes, 59, retired professional differs in opinion. He says, “I have used post boxes  earlier and most of my letters or postcards always reached safely and on time. But now, all the post boxes are either corroded or I rarely see any postman coming to pick up the letters. So fo rthe last few years, I have started going to the post office to drop my letters but I still trust our postal department. Private postal services have taken over and offer better services no doubt, but I like sticking to the conventional methods.”

From The Postman’s Mouth
With such changes in the postal scenario, many postmen might want to consider a change in career for a better secured future. Youngsters might also not want to consider this as a career option. But what exactly does a postman think? Sanjay Lotankar, a postman from Worli Post Office nods in disagreement and proudly says, “I joined the General Post Office (GPO) in 1981 and became a permanent employee in 1983. My future is well secured as the government provides good benefits for me and my family. About the change in the methods of posting, I don’t think it has affected us as much. The government postal services are still cheaper and since we’re here since donkey’s years many people trust us. Although, we have faced a disadvantage due to technology and improved private services. Inland letters and postcards have stopped coming because of phones in villages, more access to faster services, emails and more. Even on festivals, we don’t get as many cards as we used to. People prefer calling and talking to the other person or sending gifts online rather than posting. Post boxes are of the same amount but the public has stopped using it to an extent since they have several other convenient options. We get more shares letters, electricity bills, mutual funds, newspapers etc. The workload has also increased as the government has stopped recruiting since 1985 and we have no youngsters working with us.”

The future of these postmen might be secure but private postal services are definitely taking over as they promise to be convenient. In a busy city like Mumbai, not many will spare time to find a post box and drop their letter. Quick deliveries without any trouble is the need of the hour. A convenient method is always welcomed. However, there are still a few loyal users who dutifully use the conventional methods of posting. Are you one of them?

Post By Syrah (76 Posts)

Always curious, writing was something she discovered accidentally which she now enjoys. Loves reading fiction, dislikes staying idle and enjoys spontaneous trips or treks over weekends.

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Syrah

Syrah
Always curious, writing was something she discovered accidentally which she now enjoys. Loves reading fiction, dislikes staying idle and enjoys spontaneous trips or treks over weekends.