The Postman5 mins 22.8K 5 mins 22.8K
I have been a part of this service for the past 25 years and almost every day, precisely at 9 am I push myself to walk through this lane. It is not as though I admire the other ones any bit more, but this one takes specific effort. It was once my abode of happiness and now it has turned to a dreaded loneliness.
The striking difference you can notice about the street as soon as you enter is the desolate silence. Except for the rumble of fresh leaves occasionally falling under your feet, there was not much credit to the pleasantries in this street. I could call it a day if at least once I could bump into somebody who could say “Hello Mr. Postman, it’s nice to see you”. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a haunted eeriness with no people. It’s just that with the so called technology haunting into people’s souls, only extravagant occupations could get you to be noticed.
No one would send postcards or telegrams. They would instead walk past me, a disregarded existence in a large world of richness, whilst drowning in the world of centrally lit screens. Once in a while a vehicle would whizz and zoom off on the spectacularly clean roads. There was a time when I would walk in and late Mr. Mishra would celebrate with chai and biscuit because I would bring him a letter of joy, a word from his son who was then overseas. He lived in this house on my right, the dim-lit yellow seeping through the green creepers. After his demise, his son never even visited. Not even for the funeral. The kind man spent his all educating that ungratefulness. I sigh and walk past it.
The laughter and innocence of children is no longer a sight or a sound to me. I look at the empty swing in the park playing to the wind gushing through with leaves. The brown of accumulated dust on the see-saw was my evidence to the platitude – “Times have changed”. I knock the door which says Mr. Sahay. Five bell rings later, a drowsy-eyed, shabby haired guy in Bermuda shorts and a graphic tee shirt gaped at me like I was there to arrest him. A distant female voice called out from behind. I could not comprehend what she must have said. He was a few inches taller than me. I looked from over his shoulder but saw nobody. As I returned my gaze to the confusion on the young man’s face, I smiled.
“Good morning sir, Post?”
“Uhhh…. Nothing ma!”, he yelled back.
He grabbed it from my hand and stared blankly at my face. Blood red eyes shot at me like I’d done the unacceptable. Skeptical and scared, I walked back before he could say anything. As always, I wasn’t prepared to let disrespect get to the sweat beads on my forehead.
Voices behind me were rather louder than I’d expected.
“Suniye! Suniye, toh!” a palm on my shoulder said. The intonation wasn’t right. There were moments of guilt lumped in my throat. Did I make a wrong delivery? I mentally rehearsed an apology that would mostly blame my wrinkled age and memory as I turned around.
“Uhh, why don’t you come inside? My mother would like to meet you”, he said.
As expected, it was the young man looking at my face with an invitation. I realized the moist in my eye was blurring my vision as he led me into the house. Dark brown walls that contrasted with a lighter shade of gray on their side. An old woman stood in the balcony on the first floor. It must be his mother; she taught him well, I thought. Before I could take a good peek at her, the glistening rays of a morning sun interrupted my vision. I walked into the house, as all the light suddenly dimmed into channeled energy.
Thick mustard yellow boundaries adorned purple window drapes and occasional spiritual figures. I dropped the keys in the bowl on my right and the bag on the table. I walked into the living room. I could hear footsteps rushing towards us from a distance. The heavy hand on my shoulder was a constant indication of companionship.
The young man, oh yes, the young man who brought me in.
“What’s your name, beta?” I asked him. He directed me to sit down on the sofa.
“Aryan”, he said with a sigh and walked towards the fridge. The sound of cold water pouring down into a glass tumbler was all the sound I could hear, as I interrogated the “all too familiar house. I couldn’t nearly grab a good eye at the picture atop the TV. It was a beautiful 6×8 frame, a brown embossed frame encompassing a picture. From what I could gather as I walked towards it, it was a family photo. A very beautiful lady stood on the leftmost, a childhood version of the boy who invited me in. On the right of the boy was a man who seemed familiar. I was sure I never delivered a post to him – or did I -I wasn’t sure how I knew him.
My concentration to identify the man disrupted a bit, as an old lady ran towards me. She was the woman in the frame. Her wrinkles made her look way more beautiful than she did in the picture. She aged well, I thought. She held me by my shoulders and moved me.
“Where did you go again, Sameer? You know that I – I get worried for.. And you’re wearing this uniform again?” she stammered to my face never completing a sentence meaningfully.
I tried to clarify.
“What? Ma’am, uh, I think – I think you’re mistaken. I’m Raju, the postman. This man – Aryan, he invited..”
As I turned to the young man for support, he handed me a glass of water and a couple of pills from the right.
“Calm down, mom”, he said. I looked at him all confused, as he continued.
“The shock is getting worse. That doc was useless. Let’s take Pa to Dr. Sinha now! He might give a better dose!”
What were these people talking about? My head spiraled in a dizzy.