Thursday, July 28, 2011

Post Office

The picture I have in my head of a post office is due to that specimen that I frequented for the entire part of my life before email came into the picture.

This post office was tiny, dark and dingy. A creaking brown fan rotated half-heartedly over the head of the postal clerk, who sat behind a counter with an old peeling sign that said "ST MPS.". His eyes looked frighteningly large behind inch thick glasses as he paused from his painstaking stamping to look up and ask you what you wanted. He then weighed your letter on an ancient balance and tore off stamps with grubby, shaking fingers.

You paid him, took the stamps and turned around, only to bump into a shaky wooden plank that clung loosely to a wall. About half a dozen people usually jostled each other around this one square metre of sticky wood, trying to paste their stamps on their envelopes using the glue placed on that table. This glue, contained in a blue plastic bowl, now black because of dirt congealed on old glue, looked exactly like snot. Somebody would have invariably appropriated the single brush in the bowl, so you had to bite back your nausea, stick your finger into the "glue" and try to paste your stamps onto your envelope. The stamp liked your finger more and preferred to stick to it, though. Finally, after achieving your purpose, you had to step out of the post office door (two paces from the ST MPS counter,) and drop your letter into the rattling red post box outside the door and go your way.

This was, like I said, about fifteen years ago, before the advent of email. I cannot believe it myself, but I don't remember having stepped into any post office in all those years (other than to accompany my grandfather once) and so I was in for a shock when I had to avail the services of a post office today (not the one of my childhood, though.)

I stepped in, and then stepped back out because I thought I had entered a check in area of the airport. Then, ascertaining that it was indeed the neighbourhood post office, I stepped back in, and went to the stamps counter, where a smiling man weighed my letter on a digital scale, took the requisite number of stamps from his desk, produced a Fevi Stik, pasted the stamps neatly and handed it to me. Dazed, I gave the letter to Puttachi who wanted to drop it in the box. We went out of the post office, and there was only one box there which looked nothing at all like the red cylindrical post box I had in my head. The steel cube sitting smartly there was much too swanky to be an ordinary post box, or so I thought. I hung around for a while until some one else dropped their letter into it, after which I gave Puttachi, who had been insisting all along that it was indeed a post box, permission to follow suit.

I am yet to get over the shock.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A part of Pottermania

We caught the last Harry Potter movie last evening.

This was the first time ever that I watched a movie on the day it was released.
This was the first time I've been in a theatre which was completely full. All seats taken.
It was one of those old, large theaters, a non-multiplex one, with Balcony class and Rear class and all that. So you can imagine the number of Potter fans in there.
It was largely a young, energetic, highly-charged young adult crowd.
It was an electrifying, very well made movie, and dare i say more engrossing, terrifying and arresting than the book itself.

As a result, it was probably one of the best cinematic experiences I've had. The crowd screamed at the first appearance of every character, hooted with laughter at the humor, screamed with delight at every instance of daring, and brought the roof down with the destruction of every horcrux.

I came back with a great sense of satisfaction.

Not that the movie is perfect. But it certainly comes close to it.

I only wish it wasn't in 3D. The enhanced experience wasn't worth the heavy glasses.

So here's to:
S who surprised me with the tickets.
My parents with whom we left Puttachi.
The film makers.
JK Rowling and her stupendous imagination.
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