14 June 2014
Here I am, in my usual post-lunch stupor, at my mother’s house in Chennai. My cell phone rings. Cursing, I pull myself up and reach for the phone and squint to read the caller’s name. “Civil Lines PO”. What? Who? Why? I wonder. “Hanji, main postman bol raha hun, aapka ek Speedpost hai” Ohhh yes, of course, that phone message from the bank saying they were despatching my new ATM card. I’d put the matter out of my head–after all, I was in Chennai, the card was in Delhi, what could I do about it anyway, but deal with it when I returned?
Well, I’d not reckoned on postmanji, to whom I’d given my cell number for exactly such an occasion. Each time there was a registered letter for me, I’d have to make my way to the post office at the most inconvenient hour of 11 am-12 pm. So I requested him to give me a call if there were a letter for me; I could make my way from the University in 10 minutes and take the letter from him.
And so he phoned. Wow! And not only that, he has agreed to retain the letter and give it to me when I get back. Oh, my.
Nearly two weeks later I get back to Delhi, dump my luggage, and am just leaving to get to work when I hear a ‘parp, parp’ close behind, turn back and — postmanji draws up on his scooter and says, “maine door se aapko pehchaan liyaa” (even despite my largeish hat). I profusely thank him for keeping my letter, he tells me to pick it up at the post office before 10:30 am, as he would rather not leave it with the chowkidar at the apartment complex.
And the next day, as promised, he hands me the letter. Wow.