Sunday, December 16, 2012


Folks from India - do you remember those blue inland letters?

For the longest time ever I always thought they were "England" letters.  My parents  used to regularly write to their folks back home using inlands.  I remember my mom or dad leaving a small space at the very end where I inevitably would write:

"My dear Uncle/Aunty or Grandpa/Grandma,

How are you?  We are fine.  I went to school today.

Write soon."

And then would follow a drawing of a house or a car - colored most painstakingly.  After this came the most important task of all to go and drop the letter in the mail-box and wait for the reply where the usual comment would be "By the way Uncle/Aunt/G'pa/G'ma liked your drawing.  They say you've improved a lot".

When my sister went off to Medical School and I was given the privilege of actually writing a whole half page to her.  By then I had graduated to writing poems!  "There was mouse who lived in a house, His tail was blue and one day it grew etc". (Probably put her off Literature for life!)

And the terror of telegrams.  Telegrams meant one thing - either a death in the family or a serious illness with summons to hop onto the next available bus.   It was the maids that communicated arrivals of the dreaded telegrams.  "You know madam - one of those horrible telegram things arrived at so-and-so's house.  Madam So-and-So burst into tears and they are leaving for the bus-depot in an hours time."

Few years later - it became acceptable to send telegrams for Birthdays and Weddings and later extended to congratulating someone on passing their exams.  Since the amount you paid was based on the number of words - the less said the better.  The P&T came out with a list of standard greetings.  So all you had to do was to pick the number.  So if it was someone's birthday you simply said "17" and the recipient would get to see "Many happy returns of the day" - while you paid only for that one word.

Here's what I found...from the Rourkela Post Office site - looks like not much has changed ...

List of Standard Telegram Greetings

1. Kind Remembrances and all Good Wishes for the Independence Day (18)
2. Sincere Greetings for the Republic Day Long Live the Republic (19)
1. Heartiest Diwali Greetings (1)
2. Id Mubarak (2)
3. Heartiest Bijoya Greetings (3)
4. A Merry Christmas to you (9)
5. My Heartiest Holi Greetings to you (20)
6. Heartiest Pongal Greetings (26)
7. Heartiest Gur Purb Greetings (27)
8. Heartiest Onam Greetings (29)
9. Heartiest Ugadi Greetings (33)
10. Wish you a Happy Bihu (35)
11. A Happy Easter (36)
12. Heartiest Greetings on Buddha Jayanti (37)
13. Heartiest Guru Ravidas Purnima Greetings (39)
1. A Happy New Year To You (4)
2. Many Happy returns of the day (5)
3. Hearty Congratulations on the new Arrival (6)
4. Greetings on the occasion of Parvushan-a day of universal forgiveness (28)
5. Heartiest Congratulations on Greh Pravesh (38)
1. Best Wishes for a long and Happy married life (8)
2. May Heaven’s Choicest Blessings be showered on the young couple (16)
3. Wish you both a happy and prosperous wedded life (17)
4. Convey our blessings to the newly married couple (25)
5. Best Wishes on your wedding anniversary (30)
1. Congratulations on the Distinction conferred on you (7)
2. Hearty Congratulations on your success in the Examination (10)
3. Best Wishes for a safe and pleasant journey (11)
4. Many Thanks for your good wishes which i/we Reciprocate Most Heartily (13)
5. Congratulations (14)
6. Loving Greetings (15)
7. Wishing the function every success (21)
8. Many thanks for your kind message of Greetings (22)
9. Best Wishes for your successes in the examination (23)
10. Wish you a happy retired life (31)
11. Wish you a speedy recovery (32)
12. Congratulations on your victory (34)