Mr. B. Ramamoorthy:
When S. K. Roy was Consul General, he allowed us certain diplomatic privileges, even though we were not diplomatic officials. We could send letters to India using Indian stamps. The letters would go in the diplomatic bag. We could also get champagne and cigarettes. But Guru never availed himself of any of these things. When S. K. Roy returned to India and Dr. S. Gupta became Consul General, he said, “No, you cannot have these privileges, especially since you are not government officials.” And so everything stopped and a lot of people were very upset.
But none of this bothered Guru because he had never used any of the privileges himself.
Mr. Ramamoorthy is correct. From this side I never sent mail to India in the diplomatic bag. But perhaps he does not know that I received hundreds of letters from my family at the Consulate. It was quite cheap for them, but it used to take time. The letters had Indian stamps. They used to go from Pondicherry to Delhi. From Delhi they came in the diplomatic bag. Any letter that you send to the Indian Consulate in New York from India has to go via Delhi.
Why else did I go back to the Consulate in the evenings and on weekends? Only because I was dying to get letters from my family. Sometimes the diplomatic bag used to come at night because that was when Air India came in. The following day, the letters would come to our section. But my expectation and greed could not wait. So in the evening I used to go there to check the mail. Even on Saturday, when the Consulate was closed, I used to go there with the hope of getting some mail. Sher Singh and I used to open up the bag only to see if there were any letters for us. And quite often I did get a letter. Then I would spend some time, read books from the library and chat with my friend.
I wanted the mail to come to the Consulate and not to my home address. It was cheaper for my family and also my home address was always changing, so I did not know if I would ever receive their letters.
But to my home address once on New Utrecht Avenue a telegram did come. That was when my dearest friend, Jyotish, died.