It is always with great pomp and ceremony that our leaders launch new stamps to commemorate special historical events and to honor individuals for making significant contributions to the world as we know it.
Here is one such link.
But things at the ground level are quite different. Our world as we know it is longer the same. The post offices, in particular, in Delhi at least, no longer sell stamps! Can you believe that? What’s the use of releasing all those new stamps, if they’re not going to be sold, one might ask?
I discovered this fact recently while trying to send my tax returns statement to the income tax office in Bangalore through the local post office.
The income tax office always insists that they will accept only those forms that arrive through ordinary or speed post.
I went to 3 post offices that day and all of them had the same answer, “Sorry. No stamps available, but you can send through speed post.” I had neither the time nor the patience to try my luck at the 4th one, so I opted for speed post. I had to pay around Rs.50 for it, which was 10 times the cost of sending a letter through ordinary post. Just one Rs.5 stamp would have sufficed!
I enquired about this at the 3rd post office. The clerk at the speed post counter was courteous enough to answer my queries. Given below is the conversation we had.
“Why have stamps suddenly gone out of stock?”
“The person who gave them to us took them back.”
“Who? Prime Minister Modi?”
“But what will he get out of it? Maybe you guys are simply trying to push your speed post business, since not too many stamps are sold anyway these days because of so many other faster options available.”
“No, that’s not true. Modiji is trying to bring in transparency in financial transactions in government departments. To avoid repetition of scams like the latest one of Nirav Modi, he has ordered that all stamps be taken back and re-issued.”
Well, that made sense and I had nothing left to say.
With a wry smile, I picked up my things and came out, feeling very helpless….
It was like somebody offering bananas to monkeys and beating up the poor, hapless owners of those vanished bananas…