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The Post Office

I woke up to a shattering noise. It was rampant. Footsteps everywhere. Everyone seemed busy as they were moving in and out recurrently.
Hand drawn image of Post office. Courtesy - The Black Board Book

There were people everywhere; a few sitting at a counter facing the computer and shuffling some papers, some standing in a queue and the rest were busy stamping the letters sitting on desks, arranged methodically in a wooden column. They looked like postman/postwoman wearing neatly pressed khaki uniforms. That’s how we recognize postman! At least, I do it that way.

The counter has a glass sitting atop a wooden column. There was a tiny hole on the glass through which people hand over some notebooks, papers, money, exchange letters and buy stamps. Sometimes, I have also seen a few people lowering their head to talk or communicate something through that hole, as if it was the only way to say something to the opponents.

People on queue were restless and quiet with stern expressions. On the contrary, the one who is sitting on the other side were composed and vociferous.

‘We should have been on leave today, sir,’ said the one sitting on the counter beside the glass wall with a mischievous smile to another one behind.

‘Yeah, but it’s not a holiday for us,’ replied a stout middle-aged man with a bald head.

‘Maybe we could have announced here locally. After all, its Diwali eve.’ The young man winked.

‘Yeah right, Mr. Prime Minister.’ He giggled.

The young man stood up, raised both of his hands and uttered those exact words, ‘Mere pyaare bhaaiyon aur Beheno… (My dear brothers and sisters),’ which I believe is an imitation of someone. Because everyone present there (including him) laughed out of court.

They seem to have a gala time, yet they looked cautious in screening the papers, money and some notebooks. Occasionally they looked up to examine the computer screen and to answer the people. Maybe they are slow, but looked absolutely focused. It looked astonishing.

While I was adoring them, somebody shouted shu shu. I never cared and dozed off and everything faded out in a minute.
---

‘NONSENSE!’ screamed someone.

Of course, my sleep was interrupted. Immediately, I raised my neck to see what is happening. It was a young postman, who appear to have lost his temper.

‘He told the divisional office?!’ he screamed again.

‘Who told? What happened?’ It came out in chorus as most of them seemed interested.

‘I told him the card will be ready by noon,’ the postman was clearly exasperated.

‘What card?’ asked an impatient guy.

‘Morning, a guy came and enquired about the Postal ID card, he applied a few months back. I asked him to come back by noon and collect it. And now I am getting a call from the divisional office regarding the same.’

‘Who called? Public or divisional officer?’ He sounded desperate.

‘Someone from division office. They said that it’s an RTI.’

RTI?!

‘Yes! I told him clearly that its ready and now see what has he done?’

Nobody replied or even cared to respond. A few smirked, though.

Being an observer, I was running over a few points. Initially, he said it will be ready, then it is ready. I don’t know which is true. Meanwhile, he also said that the card was applied a few months back. I don’t know how many months. Usually it takes days, I believe.

I crashed off again contemplating over my thoughts.
---

‘When will you do that?’ Asked an anxious person after giving money.

It looked like a tussle. I was kicked and pushed to the corner of the room; until then I was lying close to the counter.

‘It will come soon,’ the young man at the counter replied patiently.

‘I think I am hearing the same thing for years. What exactly do you mean when you say soon?’ he gave a grin.

‘I understand. It’s been a while, but things are going fast now in the present government. He is focused to make everything digital.’ He sounded promising.

‘Yeah right! Petrol price is soaring up; Rupee value depreciates like never before; Unemployment rate is rising! Things are going very fast now,’ said an elderly woman from the queue. Looked like, she was hearing similar statements for all her life as she sounded absolutely irritated.

‘I guess he meant the statues this government is unveiling, madam. Its super-fast.’ Added an another person from the queue. His sarcasm was well received as people around were amused.

‘Alright guys! Enough! Sir, the online portal for payment and other transaction will be ready in a few months. At least that’s the information we received so far.’

‘Other banks have mobile app for the transaction.’

‘Sir, we were just kidding around here. I am not the PM. It was a joke. My name is Anand and I am a Postal Assistant!’

Everyone laughed again. Just a tint of humour lightened up the mood. It was nice of him to handle such a complicated situation, which went far beyond politics. Maybe people like him are working behind every politician or so-called self-proclaimed leaders. People who can face the situation; who can answer the questions without just reading out (irresistibly, I must say) what is given.

If people are too much concerned about the way our system works, why don't they act responsibly when needed. Why can’t they use their one and only voting right effectively?

Oh God! I feel heavy now. This is too much for my tiny little brain. What do I do?

And he did, what he does best. He slept! 
---

‘Da da.. Ooi!’ I got up again, but this time it is with excitement.

A cute little baby was approaching me, shouting on top her voice da da. Her round pink cheeks looked soft and chubby. Those tiny hands waving up and down. For every step she leapt forward, she smiled and her hairs stood up and danced. It was like a beam of sparkling sunshine running all over her face. It was heart-melting and captivating.

Our eyes met and I knew it won’t last long. Yes! She was taken away from me. Her father grabbed her from behind and warned her, ‘Don’t go, it will bite you.’

She looked her mother unconvinced, who responded with a rather reassuring nod. Confused, she looked at me unhappily. Her eyes lost the sparkle and the cheeks lay motionless. It was heartbreaking.

I couldn’t see her like that anymore and tried to cheer her up by swinging my nose and stick out my tongue, sporadically. And I started wagging my tail without getting up. My whole body started moving to and fro, resembling a circle dance.

She opened her eyes widely and stared at me. Looked like, it gained the lost touch in minutes. Her eyes sparkled. The cheeks gained momentum and shined once again.

Meanwhile, her mother seems to have completed the transaction so they were ready to leave. I was happy for a moment and waited eagerly to see her come closer.

After all, it was she who appreciated me for who I am. She gave me that look, which was quite the opposite to the one I encounter usually. She tried to come closer, when others go away from me. Some even do things to get rid of me. And she called me da da, when others say shu shu.

She went past me sitting on her mother’s lap. Crossing me, she gave me that smile which I have been longing for. It really was enduring.

I pictured her for one last time and fell asleep again, this time happily.

--- X ---
The Post Office The Post Office Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 16:34 Rating: 5

4 comments:

  1. What a story!..it is SOMETHING! Something to ponder, something to admire and something to smile and wonder!way to go!

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    1. Thanks for such a comment. Glad you enjoyed it. More to come.

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  2. Lovely story. So many layers in it...the present condition of the country, the system and strange relationships. Enjoyed it thoroughly... :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Maniparna. Happy to hear such a comment from a writer like you. Really means a lot.

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