“We were not receiving shortwave radio. During that period, I came to know about a wonderful community project called postcrossing. The concept of postcrossing is simple -- for each postcard you send, you will receive one back from a postcrosser from somewhere in the world. After becoming a postcrosser, I understood there are different types of postcards available in the market and people are very much interested in collecting them. For eg, there are postcard series called Flags of the World (FOTW), Maps of the World (MOTW) and so on. If a person is keen on collecting all the maps, they can achieve it via postcrossing,” says Jaisakthivel.
Talking from his experience, the professor mentions that once a person becomes a member of the postcrossing community, he/she will get to learn many things. “You will improve writing skills, become more creative, improve general knowledge, etc. I have introduced this to my students and they were happy to communicate with people around the world and learn new things. We have also organised two official meet-ups of postcrossers,” he adds.
Jaisakthivel reminisces how he got hold of a book on international broadcasting from the US. “I specialise in international broadcasting and through postcrossing, I met a person from the US who is also working on the same subject. I told him about a book I was searching for; it wasn’t available in India. Without any hesitation, he sent me that book. This small gesture made me realise that people are more than happy to help through such communities,” Jaisakthivel quips.
He points out that postcrossing is a great platform for people who want to know about different cultures. “You can find a lot of cultural groups on postcrossing’s official website. They are documenting it and spreading the knowledge to the community. Also, they provide a lot of interesting information about indigenous people in different parts of the world. You also get UNESCO heritage site postcards.”
Architect Thirupurasundari Sevvel who got into postcrossing recently shares her experience. “I used to see Jaishakthivel sir’s posts on social media. I was also following the Chitthi Exchange page - it is a portal where we can register for pen pals and keep sharing letters. Postcrossing is a wonderful forum where you learn about different cultures, people, heritage, food habits, etc. You can also share memories, moments,” smiles Thirupurasundari. The architect has sent out more than 400 cards and received 300-350 cards. “One of the most interesting postcards I received was a collection of special stamps released for Christmas from 1940 to 2000.”