By Pravin Trivedi
I attended London University in England for college. I quickly made friends with four colleagues in our living quarters and we used to go out together everywhere.
We participated in all the British traditions for Christmas which meant heavy partying. As students we had no money. What were we to do? Well, we did what the British students did which was to get a job at the Post Office.
Traditionally there used to be a lot of mail to be delivered during the holidays. Normally, the postmen used to come twice a day to deliver letters, cards and parcels. However, at Christmas time the volume of mail would triple or get even higher. Since college vacations would start around Dec 15th and last until Jan 7th or so, it gave the post office a great chance to employ vacationing students for two to three weeks. This gave students a week to study for the tests, that were typically after the Christmas break, and two weeks or more to earn a paycheck.
It was good work. The regular postmen would do the sorting of letters and have huge bags ready for the students to deliver at 6 a.m. The first few days, the regulars would show you how to deliver the letters. Thereafter, you were on your own. When you finished delivering a sack of mail, you went back to the post office and they would give you another sack. Most days you did three rounds, or four if you were unlucky. No one asked you when you had breaks. You could sneak in a breakfast or tea on your return to the office. The regulars knew that and even suggested it.
We felt like the jolly old man carrying a bag. Sometimes to please the kids in the neighborhood we even said, “HO HO HO Merry Christmas!”