Having been delighted to learn that our second parcel home had safely arrived in the UK, we were feeling very positive about India post. Even the 1.5 hours spent in the post office organising the sending of that parcel now seemed to be worth it (even if at the time it had all felt a little painful).
However our optimism took a bit of a nose dive when we tried to buy some stamps for our latest batch of post cards. First, we tried in Khajuraho where we were told that they didn’t have any stamps in the post office (“no supply”). This was particularly galling as we had made a special detour to the town’s post office in the middle of the day in the boiling heat and felt pretty deflated/physically shattered on learning our arduous trip had been in vain.
We then tried again in the capital, Delhi, at the Connaught Place (now renamed Rajiv Chowk) post office. But the “stamps” counter was unmanned and we were told by the official at the busy “multipurpose” counter that stamps were only available at certain times of the day. However since we had arrived outside of those allotted time slots, we were not able to buy any stamps. This felt a bit odd: here we are in India proffering money to buy something yet no trade could be done! Unfortunately there was no way round this bureaucracy so no joy there.
The busy Connaught Place post office (everyone being served simultaneously)
On our 3rd attempt, we were sold some ridiculously large stamps measuring approximately 9cm by 4cm which did not fit easily on our post cards to put it mildly. Nor did this post office even have sufficient numbers of stamps anyway. For one card we were then sold 3 individual stamps each measuring about 5cm by 3cm: fine if all you want on your postcard is the address and the postage stamps; less good if you actually want to write a message. Call me traditional but….! And this again was in another post office in Delhi! Unbelievable.
Finally in the former summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla, we managed to score the remaining stamps. And these ones were of a better size, still slightly on the large size meaning they had to be stuck horizontally rather than vertically, but much more fit for purpose. Given the fact that there are at least 3 post offices in this hill station, we wondered if the former “Britishers” were rather fond of writing while being holed up in Shimla away from the heat of the plains.
So far we have lucked out with our batches of postcard as they seem to have got through to their destinations. Let’s hope this last lot from India doesn’t destroy our record in this regard.