The once quaint bazaars of Kumaoun hills, acquainted with only three color codes ― grey-white of students, bottle-green of army and the earthen shade of postman’s khaki, have of late witnessed a color riot of courier servicemen and pizza delivery guys. Somewhere in this milieu, my friend in khaki, the postman has gone missing.
Dogs have always had a special relationship with ‘Daakiya’ and I am no different. Unlike relatives and friends, the postman turns up every day! But like inland letter and post card; postman too, aren’t spotted these days. I sometimes wonder if children of tomorrow would be able to picture Thanappa, the amiable postman from ‘Malgudi days’.
With a tinker of hope, I reach under the rhododendron and dust the rusted mailbox at the gate of Old Oak, Sleepy Hollow ― a reminiscent of times that were. All that my paws can find amid ferns are some wedding invites, electricity bills and newspaper inserts that look like confetti. No one has written to me in ages. No, I don’t count the email. These paws yearn to feel the texture of paper with words in them. Words; written and not typed. Words, impregnated with inks of those who held love. Words, weaving tales of a land from far off, of people I know or once knew. And in those crisscrosses, scribbles on the marginalia, darkened impressions which seem to stress on the line, conveying a longing to return; I too, wait with the words. Words, written days before and yet not swayed by time. Words with their casual curves, that have forgotten to age, the ripening feel that only a cat can conceal and yet, reveal.
With a slow walk I retrace my path to the attics. I don’t precisely remember when I ceased to pen letters. It’s been so long that I don’t really recall the ecstasy that it was to rediscover moist laden inland letter from the folds of an old diary with yellow tinted pages. Sometimes the postage stamps from my collection stare back at me. And as I unfold the envelope again, quite like graffiti that adorns penultimate page of old textbooks, the world reopens to me.
If you know how it feels, let me know. And if you know how to heal, write to me.