The demise of the Postman

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The demise of the Postman

Big joys are sometimes wrapped up in small envelopes. And when you open up the nicely squared and folded cover, what it brings forth are three basic needs of a human being – immeasurable joy, mental peace and fresh hope. A letter, so thin and delicate yet so powerful and intense it is. So much that it hits the right chord in the heart and conveys message with overwhelming emotion, something that no other modern communication method can ever do.

A letter has it all. Words of wisdom. Giving of encouragement. Sharing of good news and the not so good. Marriage proposal. Birthday wishes. Matters of health and wealth. Promotions. Births. Deaths. Telling of how much you’re loved and missed. And rest of the worldly messages. To carry or be responsible for such an influential and emotional communication would require quite a dashing person too. And he indeed is. The Postman, aka the Dakiya bhaiya was, once upon a time, infact he still is in the villages and in places bereft of technology advances, a man of power, respect and great importance.

When I envision a Postman, I have in my mind, a bespectacled man in khakis, riding his bicycle, honking and whistling and smiling. The cycle with two weights, one of the Postman and the other of his pile of envelopes and parcels. As he paddles through, people look at him, wave at him as if he was a politician rallying around during elections. Digging through his stash, he would look for names and read the addresses to them. The lucky families, for whom the Postman has letters, would welcome him in, with a smile, a glass of water, some food and a brief tete-a-tete, as if he was a distant uncle who visited once in a while. His farewell would be grand too, but what he left behind was more grander – a smile and a hope to see him again, with a letter.

The impact of the Postman and the pleasure he brings onto the common man’s life has been shown even in Bollywood movies. Who could forget the evergreen song, ‘Dakiya Dak Laya’ from the movie Palkon Ki Chhaon Men! Not only that, but the pleasure of writing and receiving letters has also been depicted wonderfully in many movies, the ones that gained wide popularity and are remembered even today when you talk of songs involving letters are ‘Gum Hai Kisi Ke’ from Rampur ka Lakshman and the 90’s hit, ‘Sandese Aate hai’ from Border. There have been so many other movies before the 2000s that had in them, a jolly postman singing his way through the dusty alley in a countryside or the educated reading out loud the contents of a letter.

Alas, no one waits for the Postman these days. Including me.

Regrettably, I don’t even care where the man is, the same man for whom I would look for impatiently – peep through the window, look for by the door, telephone the post office or stand intermittently in the verandah hoping to see him walk towards my home. There hasn’t been a Postman ringing my doorbell, because there are no letters that I am expecting. There are no letters that I am expecting because I haven’t written a single one ever since I opened my first email account way back, more than a century ago. So, if I don’t write a letter, who will write back to me? The calculation is actually simple. However, the postbox still stands erect, parked firmly besides the main gate. It is an old and worn out wooden box filled with newer type of letters – coupons, bills, pamphlets, magazines and advertisement junks.

Not until today, did I realize that I simply don’t write a letter. I think I am responsible for the demise of the Postman.

Are you too?

By |October 28th, 2012|INDIA|2 Comments


  1. Jaishree H November 7, 2012 at 4:03 am - Reply

    Came across this website on Google and I think it talks straight to the Indians settled abroad, I read few of your articles and liked it, write more on such Indian related issues and culture.

    • VIWA November 13, 2012 at 12:47 am - Reply

      @ Jaishree H – Thank you for visiting VIWA.

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