Connecting people between India and Pakistan, two red-coloured mail vans have been exchanging letters at the Attari Joint Check Post every morning since the partition between two countries took place.
The vans reach the check post at 11 am sharp and then exchange the sacks carrying letters, magazines, books, invites and parcels. Messages of hundreds of Pakistanis and Indians are exchanged during the five-minute ritual.
It starts with greetings and thereafter signing the lists. "Aayi yaar sign kari (come friend sign it)" someone from either side would say as language is hardly a barrier between Indians and Pakistanis.
On a cold Saturday morning, HT team met BSF jawans and the officials deployed with the postal van during the letter exchange.
Explaining the schedule, Hari Om Sharma (Indian post official on duty), said, "The drivers and post officials on both the sides have to be very particular about time. They need to be very punctual while reporting at the check post."
"This is a daily routine. If either of the vans gets late it reflects a lack of coordination and we are answerable to the authorities for this," he added.
"Har subah dono taraf se duaa salaam hoti hai (We exchange greetings every morning). We do not talk beyond that due to security reasons. Of course, such exchange gives us a chance to see smiles on the faces of people waiting for the handwritten notes of loved ones," Sharma says.
He feels happy over the fact that this makes difference to the life of people living on the two sides of the border.
"Not everyone can use the social networking media and it is where these letters play an important role. We cannot say that the number of letters exchanged is the same as 20 years ago, but it's still in bulk."
The flow of letters from India to Pakistan is less as compared to the ones coming from the other side, if officials are to be believed. The letter flow, however, increases during the festival season in particular.
Many cross-border marriages take place which play a pivotal role in strengthening the bond between the people from both sides.