Here is what he had to say:
- How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?
One day was video-chatting with my friend Olya from Russia when she told me “Hey! See I got postcards!” and I was amazed to have a look at them… I fell in love with the image of a child smiling back to me from that postcard and then I came to know of this wonderful world of Postcrossing..
Despite having the second largest population of world, Postcrossing is relatively unknown in India, having just under 2000 postcrossers. I inquired in my town and Postcrossing was unheard of. I was the only postcrosser in town for 6 months as told by the postmaster… this really pushed me more and more as to why we are not so much aware of this wonderful thing when the rest of the world seems to be looking to find out more about our culture… this is just the perfect platform to do so!
Initially the wait was painfully long as mail is slow here, but my Postcrossing India group which I came across in Facebook kept my morale high, sharing stories how postcrossing has WIDENED their perspective about this world, interesting cards and stories about wonderful people they came across. And once the cards and beautiful words started pouring in, there was no looking back! :) I really can vouch that Postcrossing has been the most amazing experience, just second to saving the life of a dying patient in my life.
- Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
My field work is in a hilly area where mail services are not very good in terms of speed/surity of delivery so when I started getting mail first, the postman was quite confused… he even stopped by just to ask me why was getting THESE THINGS and where from. I explained to him and he was so surprised! He said this is something great to do, as I will know what most don;t know of in terms of people and places. He also told me that, in a way, I am helping him by contributing to his salary (again something which stuck me deeper in Postcrossing when I realised that it affects so many people in its own way).
This postbox just outside my house, and I use it for posting cards.
I store my postcards in my drawer at work as I can’t wait to see them! Whenever I’m pressed with work and tense they give me freshness of thoughts and the chance to smile when I am surrounded by the sorrow and pain of my patients :)
I have a postcard walll hanging in my room opposite to me at work where I keep some cards which make me feel good and I keep changing them as I keep getting more . official postcrossing has opened door to swapped cards as well so I have a lot of cards now.
Now my next aim is to get such a wall for every wall of my house. its much better than paint! :) It makes concrete walls come to life and talk to you, when we come back from a harsh day of work.
- Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
My favourite postcards, well each postcard has a story… some are fav coz of pictures, some coz of words and some coz they come from places or have something which affect us deep down. I too have such share of cards.
On the left, a self-made card from Telenn in the Netherlands, a user who later gradually turned into a wonderful friend and now I am visiting Europe first time in my life and would meet her as well, and visit a lot of europe as now europe doesnt feel far and unknown now. thanks to wonderful people who I met through postcrossing
And on the right is a card from SimilliMom who favourited a lot of my sent cards (and later became a friend) sent this to tell me that a doctor is too occupied with work and so should have some moments of happiness. And it reached me at one such time!
On the left, the card that made me realize that I am in love with wild cat family and I now collect them a lot. And I also fell in love with trains. This card, I got in an exchange, as a thank you card for sending an official postcard.
Card from a Milena- who I came across when I favourited her cards, and she sent me this card telling me a lot about her country and its people.
- What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?
The moment I hit the “Request address” button, and the small pause before the address pops up… is THE most addicting part of Postcrossing! Who will get a part of my life? Who in the other part of world will soon know that “a Amit Rana” exists, someone who was non-existent for me just a moment before… that moment of surprise is what makes this project such a wonderful experience.
And then the “Congratulations, Your postcard IN-xxxxx arrived” moment… the heart goes for a spin and we just can’t stop ourselves from looking and finding out what the receiver felt about the card! :)
- Do you have any other interesting hobbies?
I am a photographer by hobby, someone who just tries to find meaning in everything, animals inanimate objects, the beauty of nature and just anything which can express feelings.
I’m also a trekker, just going for nature walks and lucky too as I live amidst the beautiful Himalayas. Being in a busy profession, I seldom get the chance to go out and travel, but Postcrossing has made up for that deficiency: it takes me to the other end of world in a moment. As getting postcards isn’t so easy in India and I sometimes get strange looks when I inquire for cards… I decided to print the pictures I captured as cards. Soon enough, the people at the Indian Postcrossing group were asking me if they could use some of my images to print as postcards as well – that was a great moment, because I felt that my photography hobby was of use to my felllow countrymen!
- Is there anything that you are passionate about?
I am passionate about the spirit of One World… the spirit of realizing that even if there are differences in customs, lifestyles, values, we all have the same feelings. We are all curious as to who the people are in other parts of world unknown to us, unseen and unheard of… its the same spirit which makes us happy when we get a card from an exotic location, which keeps someone already having over 6000 cards in his account write to me “Hey, I am so glad to write to you, never been to India but want to see Taj Mahal once before I die” This… SPIRIT is what I love and it keeps me going.
I am passionate about spreading happiness and positivity. As a doctor, we are taught to fight disease, but in my years of practice I have realised that we are just supporters. Everyone fights from inside and so believing that we’ll be ok makes us heal a lot faster than any medicine in world can do.
And if a piece of paper has the courage to survive hundreds of hands, travelling thousand of miles in different modes, escaping rain, storms, traffic jams and who knows what… Shouldn’t we be re-assured that we’ll endure everything in our way and deliver the messages we have within us… aren’t we postcards as well, spreading happiness and changing lives? :)