Babu Chabaria, Jung Khaila Tabela,
Sansanati Gali, Match-fixing ground ke peeche.
That’s an address from a Govinda-starrer. And if this reel-life gig tickles your funny bone, there is more of it in real life.
All you have to do is read the addresses on the letters and the parcels that the Postal Department receives in bulk every day.
The Return Letter Office (RLO) in Lalbagh receives almost 3,000 ordinary letters daily, except Mondays. On Mondays, it gets about 7,000 ordinary letters. Most of them bear addresses like: “To, Ramkumar, Gali no 3, Wood Store’, or ‘Ram Mahajan, Behind Raju Medical Store, 4 Garden’, or ‘Raju Kumar, opposite petrol pump, Taaporan.’ Wondering what this means? ‘Wood Store’ and ‘4 Garden’ refer to ‘Kathgodam’ and ‘Charbagh’, respectively.
The RLO also receives a large number of important documents. These may be original marksheets, original property registry papers, admit cards or ATM cards.
RLO manager Ausan says, “Apart from ordinary mail, we also receive registered mail that includes speed post.” Approximately 200 are received per day. The number goes up to 400 on Mondays because of the post-weekend factor.
Besides, it is normal to receive five-six parcels every day.” The parcels may be of clothes, books, musical instruments, machine parts, eatables, jewellery, organic products, medicines, decorative pieces and carpets. You name it, and the RLO gets it.
But what could be the reason for such a large number of undelivered posts? “The biggest factor is incomplete addresses, followed by illegible handwriting and refusal by the addressee to accept the item. Sometimes people address the items in regional languages and it is difficult to comprehend them,” says a clerk with the RLO.
An officer says, “Banks, insurance companies, corporations and government organisations are the biggest defaulters.
We receive letters with incomplete addresses from the common man, but to receive them from organisations and banks is not acceptable.”
But what does the RLO do with all the post that it gets? “The procedure we follow is quite complicated. Once, we receive such post, we first try and ‘decode’ the place that it belongs to by referring to a list of post offices. When we are able to locate the place, we send the item to that particular post office.
The post office, in turn, tries to locate the person. If it succeeds, well and good, otherwise the post office returns the item to the sender,” says Ausan.
After a certain period, the RLO disposes of undelivered or unclaimed letter. As far as goods are concerned, Ausan says, “We get government approved auctioneers to auction them. But before this happens, a three-member team from the circle office assesses the goods and tentatively fixes their price. Later, a date is announced. A nominal rate is charged for such goods.”