A Walk to the Post Office Down Memory Lane


'They're extinct now but when I was young you'd find these everywhere...let's go to the next gallery they've got a 'bobby on the bear' and a 'postman' there.'

As I go about like clockwork with the very boring but constant sequence of actions in life that calls itself routine, I hear the familiar ‘ping’ on the phone.

This should be Mother sending in her good morning message with one question that when answered will quickly be followed by a series of ten or more questions that usually revolve about the general well being of my family here and me.

This ‘ping’ could also be a message from a friend or one more to add to the endless stream of messages from the seemingly polite but consistent banking or business sectors who have shown keen interest in my welfare and prosperity.

In the days of yore, the midday cycle bell that announced the arrival of the postman was one Mother looked forward to and got us children racing one another to bring home heartfelt stories and messages transcribed in flowery handwriting that had travelled far inside sealed inlands and envelopes.

If our postman was the bearer of the dreaded telegram, he waited until the seal was opened to unveil its brief contents. He offered his condolences if the news was bad, but good news ensured a cup of tea or a sweet and a tip.

This was a time when red post boxes dotted every street. A time when we poured our heart, vented our sorrows and shared our joys and woes on paper and when securing a government job was the final destination in every job seeker’s journey.

In a shrinking world where we are under the spell of technology locking our eyes with screens rather than humans and establishing firm relationships with devices rather than people, are we tunnelling our lives into the confines of our digital caves?

Even as we embrace the ease of the technological revolution and social networking, should not we exercise prudence in its use driving home the same to the generation that will follow us? Will robots be the most valuable companions of our future when we wake up from our digitally-induced dream? Will I, like my mother, wait hours to receive a single line of hope from my busy daughter?

Another ‘ping’ and I pick up the phone and smile at Mother’s messages, quickly typing in a sweet response. I know that my answer to one of her queries will balloon into a full-fledged conversation.

But that is what makes a conversation with Mother so special.


Good Morning dear Friends, hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday. This is an extract from my publication in the ‘Off the Cuff’ section of the Gulf News. For the full article please click here.


21 responses »

  1. Indeed, a beautiful memory lane. I do miss the blue and yellow letter cards that once blessed us. I used the yellow for 0.25 when the matter happened to be general but parted with a rupee for the blue when the matter was private. Sending diwali and happy new year greetings costed a little more given to the stamps involved. I used to converse with my distant uncle, aunt, her daughter and grand mother at Mumbai. I used to wait for the reply letters and when the postman on his atlas cycle turned at the gates, it was indeed a delightful moment. Unknown letters used to reach us, just for the name and the address didn’t matter as the postman knew us by names. I must say writing letters did improve my communication as my uncle was very good at the language.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ravi, you have completed the explanation. Oh! those yellow ‘postcard’ letters and then the blue which had to be cut open. Then the atlas cycle. The postman who came home walked, he walked all the way and then there were postwomen too. They walked irrespective of the season with a sling-like bag about one shoulder. They meant more to us than an e-mail does now.
      Thank you for filling in all that I left out, Ravi.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sigh! that indeed was a stroll down memory lane. Those were the days…… red boxes…. the noise of the postman opening the gate’s latch…… the good old telephone rrrrrrrrrining………..yet the world moved on. We lived our lives much happier, less anxious and more believing in the love of our neighbors, siblings and parents and other relatives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back then everything was ‘real’, the concept of ‘virtual’ was yet to appear. I agree, Doctor, and so do my parents that life was so much more simpler and much more realistic. Good day, Doctor.


  3. Brought back so many beautiful memories Pranitha. We used to be so excited when the Postman came home. You’ve captured it perfectly. The Postman had all the news – who was getting married and who received a cheque by mail 😊. Having lived in boarding school, he was my favorite person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes! I can imagine you waiting for a letter from mom and dad with exciting stories and words that express her love and longing for you. I had a phase too when my cousin used to write to me, a postman was one human who made me very very happy. Glad you enjoyed it, Smitha.


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