Manoj K Karia, Gandhinagar: At a time when snail mail has disappeared altogether, a city resident writes a postcard to unknown people who have lost their dear ones offering them his moral support and condolences.
Yes, in an age where almost all wishes are restricted to a few words on WhatsApp and most people avoid calling, Pravinsinh Darbar, a resident of Bhogilal Ni Chali in Asarwa writes postcards to people who have lost their loved ones. In the letter, he offers them moral support.
Pravinsinh Darbar, who is a social worker, scans the local dailies for death and condolence meet (besna) announcements and writes the family a postcard after getting their address from the announcements.
Darbar has been offering condolences to bereaved families he doesn’t even personally know for the last 20 years.
In the letter, he also tells them about the possibility of organ donation and the benefits of regular blood donation, and how it can help save the life of someone else.
Pravinsinh Darbar said his senior Suryakanat Patel, who was also a former corporator and a lawyer, would write postcards to those among the lawyer fraternity who had lost a loved one. I would often go to post the same and would read them. That is how I got inspired to write them on my own, he said.
How many letters has Pravinsinh Darbar written
He said so far he has written over 2 lakh postcards to bereaved families. He said he writes 15 to 25 postcards daily and this is what he does first thing in the morning every day.
He said he also writes about blood donation, eye donation, and organ donation in the postcards to create awareness about the same.
He said the number of postcards he sends goes up drastically on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday when most of the condolence meets are announced and advertisements for the same are given in newspapers.
Darbar said 20% of those whom he writes to often respond to his letters. He has encouraged seven families to donate organs of their brain-dead loved ones while got 10 people to commit to organ donation in case they are ever declared brain dead. He has also encouraged many to pledge to donate their eyes.
He says when he first began to write postcards each one cost 15 paise and today it costs 50 paise. Every month he buys Rs500 to Rs1000 worth of postcards. Initially, he visited the post office near Civil Hospital to get them in bulk and if not available would go to the main post office.
He said initially the post office staff was suspicious that perhaps he was selling the postcards. “But now they know me and they don’t question me,” Pravin Darbar said.
Not just condolence messages, he also writes postcards congratulating people on their achievements whenever such announcements are made in the newspaper. He is also actively involved in organizing mass marriages for women in his community and seeks donations from people for the same.
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