When I got back dog-tired from Malvan, a piece of official looking paper was waiting for me, stuck in my door. I yanked it out, and it informed me that the postman had found my door locked on the 15th, which is interesting because the notice was hand delivered on the 19th. Being a conscientious postman, he did not use the untrustworthy contraption called a letterbox, but took the letter back with him for safekeeping. Collect the letter from “illegible location” at “illegible time” within five days or your letter will be returned to the sender, the official looking paper said.
Now usually, I do not get any mail. When mails from Manmohan Singh or Dawood Ibrahim arrive, someone is usually sitting at my door waiting to deliver it when I deign to come home. So I was alarmed. Either the government or the underworld must be short of cash.
Today I decided to visit the post office and collect the letter. The watchman told me where the post office was. The office boy told me where the post office was. These happened to be two separate locations in the city, so I sought the help of a motorcycle-waala friend to go post office hunting. We found a post office hiding behind a mail van after having gone around a market complex in circles six times (one more round and motorcycle friend and I would be in eternal trouble!) The post office was half the size of the van, and the two nice people on the other side of the sarkari desk told me that my post office was in the village near XYZ temple.
So off we went 4 kilometers in the other direction. The village has three temples: ABC, PQR, and XYZ. All of them being 25 metres away form each other, most villagers do not know which is which. After asking half the men, women, and children of the village, we located the correct temple. However there was no post office. Not even a man sitting on the road at a desk with a red and white flag, which should have been the proportionate size of a village post office.
My friend called out to a kid sitting in a first floor room in a nearby building. “Where is the post office?” The kid pointed into a lane too narrow for even a bike. We walked up to the “post office”, which was marked by an unofficial looking hand-painted sign that our first floor guide must have painted hinself. My friend looked aghast, and I felt like an evil criminal for all the dust and the sunshine the poor chap had to consume to get me here.
I pulled apart the curtain in the doorway to see two beds, a kitchen and three children in the “post office”. A woman walked up to me and sharply asked why I was there. I explained, and she shook her head at my tardiness in arriving to collect my mail. I craned my neck to see a small desk in a corner stacked with 5 envelopes, a file, and 100 official notices like the one I had received. Apparently, nobody is ever home in my village!
She ruffled through her documents, and said the letter had probably been sent back. I spotted a postcard in light blue ink and knew who the culprit was! Joker!!!!! Home address????
My friend did a good job of resisting the urge to murder me. I focussed on the beautiful picture of Thekaddy Lake and tried to drive murderous thoughts out of my head too.
Anyone who has my home address, please do not write to me there. That’s only for the government and the underworld.