When did you last send a postcard?

When did you last send a postcard?

As Santosh Desai has rightly put it in his book Mother Pious Lady, postcards lived in an era of publicly-owned conversations.

It played a catalyst’s role which bound together everyone when a thoughtfully sent postcard was read out among the known ones. However, the production of postcards has gone down considerably over the last decade, signalling a waning interest in another closely-knitted medium of communication after the Telegraph services were terminated last year.

“The sale of postcards has gradually declined over the last decade due to rapid development of communication technology in the form of emails and, usage of mobile phones for personal communication,” said Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, recently in Lok Sabha.

The Government has reduced the number of postcards from last year’s 10.44 crore to 8.13 crore this year.  According to the data shared by the minister, the Government incurred a loss of Rs 6.99 and Rs 6.85 per unit in 2010-11 and 2011-12
respectively.

“Though this fast-paced life has swayed the way for cheaper, faster and accessible forms of communication, writing through the medium of postcard has a different emotion to it. Emails and mobile phones are devoid of personal intimacy, which postcards and inland letters have to it,” said Mary Benny, a postcard lover.

A few decades back, it was the most common medium of communication and there was a certain level of intimacy. Most of them used to collect these letters and cards in their shelves and re-read it at their convenience.

“It is a different feeling altogether. There was a sense of closeness attached with it. It used to involve a lot of thought and thinking on what to write, which was followed by anticipating eagerly for the replies,” said Mukesh Aggarwal, who still writes postcards to his family and friends.

One of the primary reasons for its decline is the increasing dependence on the private courier services and Speedpost, offering more speedy delivery mechanisms.

“Today’s generation has been equipped with the facilities through which they are more closely connected with their family and friends living even in distant places. One can easily ignore mails and SMSes but that is not the case with postcards. SMS services and social networking have also contributed largely in bringing about the sale of postcards in a downward trend,” said Ved Parkash, Postmaster at Hauz Khas post office.

However, he further corroborated that subsidy bill should not be removed from it as postcards have been serving the public for a long time and is part of a welfare mechanism, despite running in losses. According to him, Meghdoot postcards that carry advertisements of social awareness should be continued as it has its
own importance.

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