[Reader-list] Letter to Lanka shri

Shivam Vij shivamvij at gmail.com
Sat Jul 3 18:15:34 IST 2004

this was so hilarious. ads to the thinking about English in India that
I have been doing in my mind, without any conclusive result. it's
painful, the language divide. it makes the non-English-speaking seem
dumb when he is not dumb.

And by the way, incidents like these should not prejudice us against
Indian Post. They have done much better than many government services.
They have their faults, their delays, their customer unfriendliness,
but they have their wonders. Indian postmen in villages often read out
letters to the illiterate without any fee, and a letter addressed to
'Amitabh Bachchan' with no address does reach Mr Bachchan.

On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 11:06:54 -0700 (PDT), Yousuf <ysaeed7 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Few months ago somebody posted a message in one of the
> Sarai lists about a letter that was sent from India to
> UK, addressed entirely in Hindi. It managed to reach
> its destination in London without any hitch � of
> course the British postal department had to take help
> from someone who knew Hindi to transcribe the address
> in English, as was evident from the envelope. While
> this incident made one feel proud of the recognition
> of our rashtra bhasha in vilayat, I would like to
> describe here (in continuation or in contrast to this
> pride) what I witnessed yesterday afternoon in a post
> office in Delhi:
> In the main post office of Connaught Place (New Delhi)
> a person ahead of me in the queue handed an envelope
> to the officer at the counter for speed post. The
> officer asked him, in the usual rude manner, �kaun si
> country ka hai?� (which country to send to?). Before
> the person could answer, I noticed on the envelope a
> zip code unique only to UK addresses (MQ3 78L, or
> something like that). Above that it said �Lancashire�
> but no UK. To my horror, the person bringing the
> envelope said, �Shree Lanka ka hai.� (its meant for
> Sri Lanka). The post officer got ruder than before,
> �Abay to Shree lanka kahan likha hai?� (where does it
> say Sri Lanka), throwing the envelope back at him.
> The bearer of the letter, probably an office peon,
> pointed to the �Lancashire� and said, �yeh galti se
> ulta likh diya hai�Shree Lanka hi hai� (they have
> mistakenly written it in reverse, it should be Shree
> Lanca and not Lanca Shire). This is where I
> intervened. I told them it is certainly not Shree
> Lanka � this is Lancashire which is in UK. But the
> bearer of the letter didn�t pay any attention to me.
> The post officer also didn�t seem to care, even though
> he probably knew I was right. To my further horror, he
> asked the bearer to delete the confusing name and
> change it to Shri Lanca in his handwriting, which the
> fellow happily did � obviously amused that his boss
> (who sent him) was so dumb to have spelt Shri Lanka in
> reverse. Despite my protest, the officer entered Sri
> Lanka in his computer and gave a receipt to the
> fellow, printed with Sri Lanka! During the
> conversation, however, the officer had told the peon
> �be sure of what you are doing � its 4:30 pm and this
> letter will be gone in half an hour, so don�t come
> back to me afterwards�, which proved that he knew what
> he was doing, and yet he made the guy do what he did.
> I was too horrified to protest any further and came
> back. Though I did try to imagine how the boss would
> react when he sees a receipt with Sri Lanka on it.
> Yousuf Saeed
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shivamvij at gmail.com

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