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The Missive Forwarder

A true freight-forwarder does not find cargo, he finds the right client and then, the cargo finds him. A humorous and metaphorical post from a serious blogger.

Over the 3 decades that I have spent in full-time employment, I have spent 50% of that time in the freight forwarding industry. Having nothing better to do today after completing my chores and checking my office emails for quadrant one stuff (read urgent and important), I was ruminating on how every person today is similar to a freight forwarder - I call him/her the missive forwarder.

One of the activities that engages me for not more than 20-30 minutes each day is forwarding - not freight, but missives. Why do I call it missives and not messages? The former sounds more important and erudite. An ex-colleague asked me recently, "from where do you get all these interesting posts from?" (sic). I replied, quite honestly, "I do not go searching for them. They find me. I just find a place in the right groups, the missives then find me." He thought this was a clever response, but actually it was just an honest one. Truth is not clever, lies are.

It has been a complete mystery to me where some of these amazing videos and text messages originate. I get some awesome poetry, some great videos (ignoring the youtube and standard movie clips), some witty puns, some inspirational messages, some beautiful images, some humorous memes, some atrocious clips, some fake news, some political biases, some mouthwatering recipes, some visual treats. And it is a shame to keep them all to myself - so I forward them, just like others. After all, each one of us is unique, just as everyone else. Freight forwarding is restricted to a few global, local, organized and unorganized players - missive forwarding is unrestricted and free.

During the #lockdown thanks to #COVID-19, a quote from Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities' seems quite appropriate - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."

Most people think that forwarding is easy - it most certainly is not! It involves consolidating what you receive from different sources and determine where it needs to be forwarded to. It also involves 'breakbulk', i.e. de-consolidating the messages that you receive from a single source and determine who are the rightful recipients of different missives. It involves complying with local regulations - to ensure that no law is broken. It involves identifying the recipient with unerring regularity - so that the receiver is pleased to receive this particular missive and not annoyed. It involves judicious segregation of divisive and sociopathic missives to avoid conflicts and verbal combats.

One of the important aspects of forwarding is the speed and the agility. So, once you have the direction set right, the next important task is to make sure the missive arrives at its destination before anyone else's does. This also frustrates other forwarders and makes them more likely to make mistakes - haste makes waste. Another important aspect is embargo and restricted parties - how to ensure that the wrong recipient does not receive what is not meant for him or her. This is another instance of acting in haste and repenting at leisure - especially when it comes to hate mails as compared to inspirational mails.

Forwarding also means using different vehicles - so if you receive something on WhatsApp, be agile to share it on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or even LInkedIn, if it is appropriate. Look for links on facebook and share it on LinkedIn. Check if you can download and store the images from one social network and use that to expand the knowledge of other social networks. All this is in a good cause. Speaking of social media and its posts, it has always seemed funny to me that some of the people who claim that other people are full of hatred, actually hate them.

You also have to take into account just how critical the recipients' biases are. For example, what if you happen to send the intended recipient a pro-Didi post when he or she is unabashedly 'anti-Didi'? How do you absorb, swallow, regurgitate and expunge the emotions that arise when you receive an insidious stream of emails that can only see the negative in every situation? How do you retain your own sanity? Would you now take up the battle or would you ignore it altogether?

A true forwarder always remembers never to wrestle with a pig - he gets dirty and the pig loves it!

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