I've decided that for me, at the moment, every day brings at least one lesson as to how to get the business of the day done here in India. So what did I learn today?
Firstly how to post a letter, a seemingly simple process? well yes and no. I go to my source of information and consult with Karthik, our driver. Wills asked me the other day - "how come Karthik knows everything?" and I must admit at this point I agree with Wills, it does seem as if Karthik knows everything and I know, well I feel as if you could write what I know on the back of a postage stamp (OK, not funny!)
Karthik pulls up at the post office - no visible sign but apparently it is the Post Office. I take my letter and walk inside feeling as if I have just walked out of Dr Who's time machine, having travelled 50 years back in time. There is a table with a big jar of glue and a brush (no self adhesive stamps here or any adhesive on the stamps at all for that matter!) On the far side of the counter are piles of dusty handwritten ledgers, looking so antiquated I wonder if they are here for show but no, there is a post office official writing in one and no, he doesn't have a quill and ink bottle.
I stand in line, not getting too close to the person in front of me in line at the counter, don't want to appear rude and overhear their business. Big mistake - leaving any body room between me and the person in front is an invitation for anyone to move ahead of me. Got to push up tight.
I arrive at the counter and my envelope is reviewed and deemed correctly sealed (person before me nearly got rejected as their envelope was stapled shut, apparently a security risk) and addressed. The post office official decided the envelope needed to be sent registered - didn't find it necessary to confer with me on this point - typed in all the details into his computer/printer and gave me a receipt. Then I moved on to the glue pot!
Next time I think I'll just send Karthik by himself, and if you don't get any mail from me in the next couple of years you know why!