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Thursday, July 12, 2018

when postman came calling ~ Triplicane remembers the good service

What makes you feel happy ? – ‘knowing lot of people or being known to lot of people’ ?  ~ a few decades ago, there was at least person who thrived knowing the resident’s name and perhaps their occupation too .. .. .. gone are those good old days, in a culture, where the next door neighbour is not known and people do not care to know ‘who lives next !’.

this building was once a place where hundreds would come daily ~ - days when post cards, inland letters, money orders ruled the roost – and it fell to dust.  For the unknown, this building on Big Street, Triplicane hosued Sri Parthasarathi Post Office.  In Mar 2013 and some other times, I had posted on the endless wait of Triplicanites for the functioning of Sri Parthasarathi Post Office. It is not merely a Post Office that Triplicanites yearned for -  not simply a building or an Office – but something unique in the name of the presiding deity of Thiruvallikkeni …………

In days of yore when communication thrived in written form – sent on  post cards / inland letters / covers / telegrams / Greeting cards / money orders / postal orders and the like… for communicating…  the most important man, for whom all the residents of the street waited was the ‘uniformed postman’.  ‘Sir Post’ were the most awaited words – the time when Postman came calling to deliver the communication that you yearned for.   The post man  easily was once the most respected and known person in any village / city  as people waited for his arrival expectantly everyday.

History reveals that it was way back in 1712, Governor Harrison first started a Company Postal Service in Madras to carry mail to Bengal by dak runner. Decades later the postal rules were in place  ~ Chennai General Post Office was initially opened in Fort St. George Square, just outside the Sea Gate, on 1 June 1786.

For Thiruvallikkeni vasis, the post got sorted either at Triplicane Post Office in Triplicane High Road or nearby Sri Parthasarathi Post Office at Big Street.  The building housing the Post Office in Big Street became dilapidated, was demolished and now has become a car park. The PO was later housed in a smaller, old building in Hanumantharayan Kovil Street off Kairavini Pushkarini, the temple tank before moving to its present position in North Tank Square street after the residents fought relentlessly. 

Most   Postmen would know all the streets of the locality as also the residents of each street.  Once a mammoth Govt Dept employing most people next to Indian Railways, the Department of Posts has lost most of its pristine glory now.  For those with sharp memories and even to those with short memories, there are some postmen who have endeared to the locality by their friendly demenaour –  the tall hard complexioned Ravi (Mr S Ravichandran) has been one – amiable and professional in his delivery.  Every other day, we could hear people talking loudly on mobiles and quite often we hear people quarelling complaining about poor service et al.  The postman had the simple (perhaps thankless) arduous task of delivering letters – made more difficult when houses started vanishing and they turned apartments (many of the earlier ones not having lift)

Ravi, fondly called aloud the name of the recipient and hand over or place it gently at the doorstep / letterbox after bringing the arrival to their notice.  There was never a problem with incomplete or illegibly written addresses, as he knew all the residents (of his beat) too well.   Be it sweltering Sun or heavy thunder showers, Ravi came calling !

All good things do come to an end – Mr S Ravichandran retired peacefully on 31.5.2018.  our friend TA Sathyanarayanan met him in Triplicane Post Office to say thanks for the meritorious service.  Today TAS, R Kannan and TJ Ramani organized a farewell, recognizing this affable individual for the good services rendered.  The man so simple spoke loudly of what he considered his duty, how much he loved his work and the opportunity of mingling with people, helping in whatever little way he could.  Moving it was ~ and the parting shot .. .. .. he said, he felt complete when many citizens recognize him and appreciate him and added that he would be too happy to receive a certificate of recognition from the ‘great service organization – SYMA’ – to him this was a dream .. ..

We immediately felt that SYMA should indeed honour people like him, who have played a long innings with passion  - perhaps Aug 15, our Independence Day, when we have our eye camp should provide the podium for SYMA honouring him.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th July 2018.

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