History Lesson

Video: A brief history of the PIN Code, which ensures what you bought online is delivered

How six digits eliminated confusion over similar names, incorrect spelling, and different languages.

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Video Editor: Makrand Sanghvi | Design: Shruti Rego

On April 1, 1774, India got its three first postal circles: Bengal, Bombay and Madras. As the date suggests, this was one of first things that the British did once they began to colonise the country.

While Bengal catered to the whole of the eastern and northern regions of British Empire, Madras handled the southern region and Bombay, the rest.

Cut to Independent India. There were now eight Postal Circles: Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Bombay, Central, East Punjab, Madras and Uttar Pradesh. But even so, there was confusion over the destination of a letter, given spelling mistakes, places with similar-sounding names, and so on.

It was to streamline the flow of the enormous quantity of mail whizzing around the country that the Postal Index Number – aka PIN Code – system to identify every single post-office in the country with a unique number was introduced on August 15, 1972.

The first digit in the six-digit number indicated the region. The second identifies the sltate or union territory, the third and fourth zoom in on the mail-sorting district within each state, and the fifth and sixth identify the specific post-office whose jurisdiction the address falls under.

The first modern postal codes were introduced in 1932 in Ukraine, which was then under the Soviet Union, only to be abandoned in 1939. It was slowly adopted in the United Kingdom under the name of “postcode” and in the US, as the “zip code”.

While email and other forms of digital communication has cut the number of letters written and posted, e-commerce and home-delivery of purchased products has ensured that the PIN Code remains as important as ever.

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What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

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The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.