A visit to the post office

I got an email from LIC India one day saying that they sent a cheque to me (pertaining to a policy that my parents had taken for me) quite a while back and it had not been encashed. They wanted to check if I received it or not. As it turns out, my address in their records was an old one and that is why I did not get the cheque.

The email asked me to send the new address if it had changed which I promptly did. I got a response confirming receipt of the new address and that I should contact a certain person with such and such telephone number in case I did not receive the cheque after ten days.

After ten days I contacted the person and asked him about the cheque. He said it had been sent by Registered Post and that I should get it in the next 2-3 days. I waited for 5 days. No sign of the cheque. I called the guy again. He was surprised that I had not yet got it. He asked me to call back the next day and he would enquire about it.

The next day when I reached home, my cook told me that the post man had come home with a registered  post cover and refused to give it to her. He insisted that only I collect it. He left a message asking me to come to the post office to collect it. No mention of which post office. No mention of who to meet and when. Just come to the post office and collect it.

I was lost. I had no idea what to do. The cheque amount was non-insignificant. I had to do something.

I mustered all the courage I could and went to the General Post Office at Rashtrapathi Road in Secunderabad. The building looks quite majestic from outside. Only when you go in do you realize that it is a fit case for the saying, "Paina pataram, lona lotaram"!

There is an Enquiry counter inside. I went up to it and asked the person behind the desk where I could pick up registered post? Without as much as a look back, he said "Go inside". Well, wasn't I already? I figured he meant really deep inside the maze that the office was. There some counters with monstrous lines in the front with an almost hidden entrance to the "inside".

I went through. There were dozens of tables with people behind them animatedly scribbling away on papers with dog ears. Not one computer in sight! I had to ask random people on the way where the Registered Post delivery was made. After listening to contradictory responses and going back and forth "inside" and "outside", I finally met one man, deep inside, that asked me, what I thought was the first relevant question in my adventure.

"Which area do you live in?"

"Balamrai", I responded.

"Oh, vaadu elipoindu", the guy responded, adding that the concerned person left at 11 in the morning. That was a first, I thought to myself. I have heard of truant and lazy government servants. This took the cake. I realized later, however, that I had to basically meet the same postman that delivers letters to my house and that he is usually there in the post office from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and I had to come at that time the following day if I had any hope of getting my cheque.

Cut to the following day. I confidently walked to the same room and asked a totally random person in there where I could colect Registered Post for Balamrai. "No. 30", he responded. I asked around where No. 30 was and was directed to a post man sitting on a desk that had a small label that said "30" inside a shelf on the desk. So much for "No. 30"!

I asked him about the cover and he promptly pulled it out and made me sign the Receipt paper. To his credit, he did not ask me for a tip. I was totally shocked!

A few questions still remain unanswered in my mind:

1. How did any random person I asked about where I could collect my cover have an answer? How come no one said I don't know?

2. Why can't they have one section for uncollected registered post with a big sign board that says so where anyone can go and collect their post?

3. Why didn't the postman tell my cook that I had to come to the GPO at R.P. Road between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.?

4. Why does LIC have to send cheques by registered post when almost the whole world uses private courier companies to deliver cheques?

5. In fact, why can't LIC have a direct credit to bank account option?

6. And finally, why, oh why, did my parents take an LIC policy for me?


Anonymous said…
this is so funny
B said…
Nice description. By the way...did they ask for any ID before getting you to sign it and take it ?
Kamal D Shah said…
No ID was asked but I guess that was because this was the regular post man of my area and he might have seen me many times.