My Courier Chronicles
Recently I visited India after a long time. Like any desi I was also stressed out with traffic and pollution. I first took couple of days rest and headed to finish a task of my colleague Aravinda. Task is to send a parcel to a village in Karnataka. Initially I thought it was a 5 min job…..
I took an auto to Narayana Guda. No, No. It doesn’t mean that Narayana was also with me. Nor am I implying that auto ran over Narayana’s shoulder – Narayana Guda is a place in Hyderabad. I thought I would find a shop to send the parcel. As arrived at a shopping complex, it took 5 mins to find the shop in a sea of plates with shop-names. (Don’t get me wrong, I was still in USA hangover where everything is easy to find for a slow person like me.)
While I was waiting, fourth in the line, for them few more people came behind me and with out any hesitance moved to the front desk and started sending their mails. I had a little patience still left at that time and waited for them to finish and my turn came finally.
Front Desk: what’s in the box?
Me: ‘I think its a gift.’
Front Desk: Gifts, cloths and liquids are not allowed sir. Next!
I have no words to respond and asked one more time and the same stereo answer came and I am out of there and realized that I spent 30 mins there.
Asked a road-side person if there is any courier services near by and luckily there are couple in a mile distance. It was peak hour in Himayat Nagar what do you expect? Locals say it is always a peak-hour in Himayat Nagar. Despite being to New York city and Washington DC, I agreed with them. After all, that one-mile trip by auto took full 30 min ride.
This time it is an individual shop by the road and not difficult to find. So asked a dude-in-the-shop if they allow shipping gifts. Dude answered, ‘Yes’ and I was soo happy that the quest was going to end. I was wrong again.
Dude-in-the-shop: What is inside the box?
Me: I am not sure what it is but I think its a gift.
Dude-in-the-shop: Before I proceed, I need to see the contents.
Me: What ?
Dude-in-the-shop: Yes sir. Its the policy.
As he looked at the item, he wanted me to estimate the value. I said, it might be 5000 INR (100USD). A $100 gift is expensive for me. Apparently these days Rs 5,000 is peanuts for many. After looking satisfied and repacking the box and before proceeding to bill, “Sir, we do not deliver to this postal code.”
Damn it, Aravinda! Why should you be living in a remote village?
Drawing inspiration from one of our forefathers, Raja Bhatti Vikramarka, I was in search of another shop. Thank God, there was another courier company a few blocks away.
I walked there and it is a small counter in side the complex and 2 people waiting before me. While waiting there, one more dude rushed from my behind and leaning on the counter to send his parcel. I literally lost the patience at that time but told myself to avoid confrontation and wanted to patiently waited till he was done. Nah.. I confronted him
Me: Don’t you think I am in line and you should wait?
Dude-2: How do I know you are waiting ? (we do not accept mistakes)
Me: This is courier counter and no one here is watching a movie!!!
Dude-2: Ok sir.
As I approached the counter, my frustration vanished as I found out that they deliver to this package to the remote village. I then opened the box for inspection, declared the value and repacked. de ja vu all over again. Finally, a photo ID to complete the process: my NY State Issued driver’s license.
I found out the hard way- my US photo ID helped me get more respect in my own country! My quest finally ended at 7PM and with a diet coke celebration.
-Kanaka Prasad with help from Mohan