On their recent visit to India, my niece and her husband spent half a day shopping for curtains with very narrow specifications. They were thrilled to find exactly what they wanted, at a fraction of the prize they would have spent in Netherlands. We placed the order and I promised to parcel it to them, thinking it was an easy enough job. It took just 2 days for the call to come from the shop that the curtains were done and I could pick them up only a day or two after that. After having made sure that it looked right, I got the shop to pack it for me.
The next free day, I made a trip to the local post-office to inquire about the shipping. I had gathered that this would be the easiest way; my visit to the DLH website had been daunting – a lot of paperwork was mandated. I am familiar with the local post office, located in the green environs of a residential area. They are grossly understaffed and under-equipped for the services they provide and when you get bulky parcels, the postman leaves a message at home and the parcel has to be collected by the addressee. I have been collecting parcels every 3 months, as I receive really bulky agenda papers for the quarterly meeting of a committee I am a member of. So, the staff know me well. So, I gathered that parcels could be mailed before 3 pm Mon to Fri and by 1 pm on Saturdays and I needed to provide a self declaration on its contents and value.
On the next free morning I got Mr Parminder, the driver, to carry the parcel into the post office. It was busy and when I finally got the attention of the staff, I was told that their weighing scale was not working and so I would have to take it to the local market and get it weighed. So, Mr Parminder carried it (it was I guessed around 20 Kg) back to the car. At the local market I looked around for the weighing scale the post office had referred to – and yes, there was one, the one used by the meat shop to weigh their deliveries! Mr Parminder carried the parcel out and got it weighed (the place was not smelling very great, as you can imagine!) and we headed back to the post office. When we took the parcel back and said that it weighed 21.5 Kg, they informed us that there was a maximum of 20 Kg that they could take!!! A weight limit was not something that had come up in the earlier conversations. ‘What’s in it?” he asked. ‘Clothes” I replied. “repack it with less” He advised. So, we got it back home – poor Mr Parminder had done a lot of weight lifting that day!!
The next free day (again after a gap of 3 days), I had to set out is search of the sewing paraphanelia to re-do the parcel. Then we took apart the original packing, and split it in to two and resealed it in 2 layers of plastic, wrapped in plastic sheet and sewed it to get 2 packages – looking a lot neater and better done than the original. I was ably assisted by Kiran – but by the time we got it done, it was too late to make to the mail yesterday. I was busy this morning and I am hoping to finally get it on its way tomorrow morning – 2 weeks after we selected the cloth and gave the order! So nothing is as easy as we think!