Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "india"

A while ago, Anu (aka Gummu) from Bangalore 🇮🇳 surprised us by mailing six postcards to Postcrossing’s PO box, each with a quirky illustration, fun stamps and a piece of a postal story! You see, each postcard had a little chapter of the adventure that was searching for these same postcards in her hometown. We’ll let Anu tell the story, as it was written to us on her postcards: 😊

"Dear team Postcrossing, hello from Bangalore!

July 2019. It has been years since I entered a post office. I’d occasionally send a new year greeting or a birthday card. Signing up for Postcrossing brought back to mind all the post office coordinates around where I live, as did the fact that I hadn’t set foot in the gorgeous old GPO (General Post Office, Govt. of India) building in my city forever. So here’s a story in 6 cards…

A multi-postcard adventure story!

August 2019. The first visit to GPO revealed a philately desk and a shop. There I found this 20-card booklet, Bangalore in the 70s, illustrated by Paul Fernandes, Bangalore-based artist. Each card is an amazing, nostalgic throwback to a city we loved, loved, loved, but have seen slowly disappear over the last three decades. I picked up two booklets, gifted one and used up mine in no time. Went back for more but it was out of stock everywhere!

November 2019. Got a lead from the GPO that they may be available in one Post Office in another area. I head off on a Friday afternoon. At first, the staff said, no sorry, no stock. I get to speak to a junior branch manager, who, after listening to my quest said, “Let me make some calls…”

Subhash, the junior branch manager, made 6 calls over half an hour. Got phone numbers of staff at other branches and finally, tracked down a PO sales exec who had them at an exhibit at the agricultural university, just outside the city. Told me he would be there until 5pm, set me up with the sales exec’s phone number. Thanking Subhash profusely, I set off. If you know Bangalore traffic, you’d start to get nervous bout me ever getting there on time.

I made it to university by 4:45pm and discovered the beauty of the campus, green sprawling, rows of mango trees. Spied the convention hall where the exhibit was happening. Turned out to be an exhibit by uni students on the lives of insects (fascinating!) and located the young sales executive. He had kept aside 20 card booklets for me!

A multi-postcard adventure story!

Happy dance! Learnt from the sales person that India Post is planning to do another run of this card set. I hope they do! They are delighted that Postcrossing is going strong. I’ve spread the joy a bit by sharing the cards with old Bangaloreans, and with postcrossers. So, thank you team, for igniting the love for sending, receiving, reading, writing and connecting with the world.

Love,
  Anu"

Thank you Anu, for sharing your adventure and Paul Fernandes gorgeous postcards with us!

We love the story as much as we love the multi-postcard format — so pleasing! Imagine writing a story like this to a friend or little one, in postcard-sized installments that keep them peeking into the mailbox everyday for more… wouldn’t that be lovely? Pick a story or maybe an adventure you’ve recently lived, an unsuspecting friend and go surprise them with a few postcards! 😊

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Awhile ago, Dutch postcrosser Paulien (aka Paulienvdmeer) received an amazing illustrated postcard from India… and was so impressed that she immediately wrote to let us know about it. Following up on her suggestion, we reached out to Ashwin, the illustrator behind these special postcards, to ask him a few questions!

How did you discover Postcrossing? What made you stay?

It was on a 2015 trip to Ladakh in the Himalayas that I posted my first ever postcard — to my parents back home. By the time I got back home, the postcard had already arrived, and it was fascinating to know that something could travel 2000+ kms and from 11500 feet altitude to sea-level — for as little as 6 rupees (8 cents USD). Ever since I got back, I knew there must be more people in love with postcards and I googled for postcard exchange platforms. Postcrossing happened to be amongst the top results and I was impressed by its member base. I am a huge travel buff and the fact that you get to hear stories from across the world by the way of postcards is the secondary reason why I continue to use the platform. The primary reason, of course, is that I imagine postal services might be discontinued someday (they shouldn’t be) and my postcard collection will be worth millions then! 😄

Ashwin's sketched postcards
What attracts you to urban sketching? How do you choose the buildings/sceneries that you focus on?

My training as an architect-urban designer led me to sketch and doodle a lot of ideas. But it was my Bachelors thesis professor, Ar. Shrikant Sathe, who insisted that I never give up sketching. I simply followed his advice and now I end up sketching even while waiting at airports and train stations! Life in urban environments is very interesting and I usually pick a small frame of a large and chaotic surrounding to sketch it. At the moment, I am focusing on drawings humans better in my sketches!

Ashwin's sketched postcards
Do you have a favourite postcard that you’ve made?

I doodled a map of my city titled 'A-Z Bombay’ for a heritage travel company called Khaki Tours I work with. This map chronicled the 26 must-do experiences in Mumbai alphabetically laid out on a map.

Ashwin's sketched postcards

Since then, I have used the illustration across posters, mugs and postcards. It remains my favourite card till date. But I am always looking to find a new favourite.

What are members reactions when they receive one of these sketched postcards?

While posting the cards is a reward in itself, it is heartening to know that my recipients love my postcards. I have made friends with so many people from around the globe and many are in touch via Whatsapp/Instagram with regular exchange of postcards. I am happy when my sketches inspire people to visit my country. Perhaps someday my life partner will show up on a postcard too!

Which materials do you use to make these cards?

Sketches are usually done in my sketchbook that I carry with me at all times. They’re then scanned and laid out on my computer before being printed on a thick 300gsm textured paper. I am extremely finicky about the finish and take the delivery of the cards from my printshop myself.

Ashwin's sketched postcards

Thank you so much Ashwin! We love it when people pour their talents into the postcards they send — it’s so inspiring! 😍 If you’ve received a particularly nice handmade postcard lately, let us know in the comments below!

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At least once a year, postcrossers from Mumbai in India get together to celebrate their hobby and send some postcards. Last year, the Little Mail Carriers’ cousin was invited by Amit Surana (aka indianfriendszone) to tag along and discover his beautiful country. Here’s his report of the trip:

Hi everyone! It’s been a while… I hope you’re doing well!

Hello from Mumbai!

Man… it sure feels good to get out of that envelope! :) Ooooh… and what do we have here?

Warm welcome!

Well hello ladies! Nice to meet you! Are you all coming to the Postcrossing meetup as well?

The local postcrossers are celebrating a special quirky date: 11/12/13! This sequential date only happens once every 100 years – how cool is that?

We met at Starbucks, and then moved to the General Post Office, who made a room available for us to share and write our postcards in a quiet environment. That was very nice of them!

Postcrossing meetup

A great crowd turned up, and it was really nice to meet everyone in person! And the postcards were really nice too – some where even especially designed for this event:

Postcrossing meetup postcards

By the way, the building of the Mumbai General Post Office is stunning – one of the largest post office buildings in the world with 101 counters and 11,000 square meters of area. As you can imagine, it handles massive quantities of mail everyday! Do pay it a visit if you’re around…

Mumbai GPO

… you might even get to meet a friendly postman, like I did!

Nice postman at Mumbai GPO

After the meeting, I stayed in Mumbai for some time, and got to do some sightseeing with Amit, and learn a bit more about the biggest city in India. Mumbai is amazing: everywhere you look, there’s a piece of history waiting to be discovered.

We stopped at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (also known as Victoria Terminus), built in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It’s made in the Victorian Gothic Revival style blended with traditional Indian architecture – and so remarkable that it earned UNESCO recognition.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Mumbai is also known for the Bollywood industry, which is based here in the city. We went to see one of these movies, and the songs were stuck in my head for hours afterwards… I even learned a dance move or two! I didn’t understand much of the story since everyone spoke Hindi… except now and then, when the characters would speak in English for a sentence or two! Amit explained that this is called Hinglish and it’s a mixture of the two languages.

Bollywood

I also got a chance to see the magnificent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Leopold Café nearby. This was a solemn moment in my trip, as I remembered the many people who died or were wounded here during the November 2008 terrorist attack.

mumbai14

After that I was feeling contemplative… Since Mumbai lays by the sea, this was the perfect occasion to take a stroll on the beach, and dip my feet in the Arabian Sea while watching the sunset. Chowpatty beach is one of the most famous in Mumbai. It’s here that people come to try the local delicacies or just relax at the end of a long day. There were monkeys dancing, snake-charmers and even fortune tellers!

Chowpatty beach

A short walk from the beach was Kamala Nehru Park, which features…

Boot house on Kamala Nehru Park

… a boot house! Isn’t that amazing? Who wouldn’t want to live in a boot? It’s inspired in the nursery rhyme There was an old woman who lived in a shoe – though I didn’t find any old women there, only happy children!

On my last days in town, there was another Postcrossing meeting, where we visited the Elephanta caves, a famous UNESCO heritage site on an island 10km from the coast of Mumbai. The caves have a series of sculptures, from the 5th and 6th centuries, depicting the cult of Shiva. They’re amazing! I felt even smaller than usual next to them…

Elephanta caves

Glad I wasn’t alone! There were a lot of friendly postcrossers there with me :) Postcrossing meetup!

I had an wonderful time in India with Amit and all the postcrossers, but now it’s time to go! Into the mailbox I go… who knows where I’ll pop out! :)

Off we go!

Thank you Amit, that was lovely! Keep an eye on the blog, we have a feeling we’ll be hearing from the Little Mail Carrier’s soon…

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Meet drakrana (aka Amit) from India! He’s a doctor in a remote city in the Himalayas, who discovered Postcrossing only a little over a year ago… but embraced with exceptional passion! :)

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).

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

This postbox just outside my house, and I use it for posting cards.

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

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 :)

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

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.

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

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!

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

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.

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

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.

Drakrana Spotlight Interview

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!

Drakrana Spotlight Interview
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? :)

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Last November, a group of Indian postcrossers got together in Mumbai, on 11/11/11. The goal? To bring postcrossers closer together, and create a Postcrossing family in India!

Mumbai Postcrossing meetup

In attendance were exactly 11 postcrossers (what a neat coincidence!): indianfriendszone, seetas, Yuktie, Kanthi, anushankarn, kevindesai777, NishaJ, manojkamat_2005, kaushal, aditicm and Manasi.

Together they wrote and sent postcards with India’s Post special cancelation mark of the day, showed each other their collections, and shared tips on to store and preserve postcards.

Here are a few photos from the event:

Mumbai Postcrossing meetup Mumbai Postcrossing meetup Mumbai Postcrossing meetup Mumbai Postcrossing meetup Mumbai Postcrossing meetup

Amit S, organizer of the meeting told us that “With all the excitement members didn’t realise how time flew by, some had to rush back home and the others decided to move on to a nearby restaurant for some coffee and snacks and more discussions!”

Time does fly when you’re having fun! :)

PS – Never been to a Postcrossing meetup before? Look up the upcoming meetings on the forum, or set up your own!

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