Sending One Final Package Turns into an Ordeal in Chennai

After landing in Chennai from the Andaman Islands, our first priority was to send a package home from the main post office. We hopped on a local train and made it with what we thought was plenty of time to get a box and wrap up the parcel. When we arrived, however, we had the following conversation:

Sewing and sending a package in Chennai, India
Sewing up a package in Chennai, India

Them: We are closed. The computers are off.

Us: But the postoffice doesn’t close until 5:00pm. It’s 3:45.

Them: Yes, but this window closes at 4.

Us: But it’s 3:45. We have 15 minutes.

Them: Sorry. We already closed. Come back tomorrow.

Us: We can’t come back tomorrow. We fly to Sri Lanka at 7:30am tomorrow. Is there any way you can turn the computers back on? We need to send this today.

The staff of the international parcel window spent the next few minutes deliberating in Hindi before agreeing to help us out. As is often the case, once they decided to help us they became the most helpful and friendly people on earth: well, despite the fact that they were rushing us like crazy. One person found a box while another helped package it up and tie it with the burlap sack required to mail a package internationally.

Including myself and Carrie, six total people worked on the packaging process: the same as it took us in Banglore. The box was sealed, shipped and paid for by around 4:07 and in the end everyone had a huge smile on their face. We are convinced that, much like in Banglore, the only reason that we got that service was because we were foreigners with heavy bags and a deadline. Were we locals, we probably would have had to wait until the next day.

Favors aside, what we still don’t understand is why they were so against turning the computer back on and why we were so rushed while packing the parcel in the first place. After we finished, no one actually packed up and went home: they just sat there waiting until 5pm when they could go home. Still, to those workers who will never read this blog…thanks!