The Aura of the Letter Box

In spite of the big red (and mock!) letter box that we place right next to the stamps, every (more than) once in a while, there is someone who hands their finished postcard to us. On that, one of us politely points and says, “No, you have to post it in the box.”

We generally get a variety of reactions after that. Some are thrilled by the completion of the experience. Others take the card back and re-read it to ensure that everything is perfect. There was one set of friends who made us giggle as they went on to dramatically mourning ‘the parting with the postcard’ with the famous old Hindi song (typically sung while giving away the bride at marriage) – Baabul ki duayein leti ja!!

Some others click a photograph to safe keep a memory. Most just ask us – Is this okay? Will this go? Is the postal system still functioning?

Despite the fact that it’s a paper box (which we occasionally open up, on requests, when someone forgets to write the name, or complete address), it’s a replica of the good ol’ Red Letter Box. Hence, it comes with a reputation. Anything slipped into it will not (and should not) come back.

It’s not the photo comment that I can edit, even delete. It’s not the Like that I can Unlike a moment later. It’s also not an Enter that I may press by mistake to send a half-formed stupid-sounding email out. One typically does not slip in a letter by mistake, because the slot of the postbox is not on our laps or at our thumbs all the time.

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It’s a post, a daak, which, once put in the letterbox, the postal system will meticulously segregate to reach the right daakiya, so that he/she can deliver the little message you have so lovingly written. But you can’t, a moment after the slip, decide on not sending it.

It’s the downside and the absolute beauty of it.