One obvious conclusion is that email, chat, and cheaper telephony have reduced the need for sending letters. But think again; while urban people have stopped writing letters to each other, that role has been taken up by corporates. And they have taken up this role with magnificent gusto. Everyday, when I reach home from office, there are 4-5 letters waiting for me – different bills, account statements, financial transaction details, and of course, an enormous variety of promotional materials. Indeed, globally, business posts make up bulk of all postal deliveries. With liberalization, increasing competition, and growth of consumer facing business, the same pattern will emerge in India.
But then, it was always foolish to expect that new methods of communication would wipe away the physical postal system. After all, somewhere along the process of evolution, men have developed an affinity for paper. So, it is always more convenient to read a paper magazine or newspaper, rather than an online version. The best example of man’s affinity for paper can be found when one is traveling via air. Have you ever counted the number of times your boarding pass is touched (and apparently verified) by people at the airports? Just today, my boarding pass was touched by 9 people (other than myself), sometimes standing within three feet of one another. Surely, such a process cannot be for any verification purpose, but only to satisfy man’s urge to touch paper. And till such habits remain, everything which uses paper will live on.