Saturday, November 15, 2014

We are as happy as we wish to be

I do not know how many of us know the name of our postman who comes to deliver our letters almost daily? No, we hardly talk to him even when he delivers us a registered letter or a parcel. We silently receive the mail and sign in acknowledgement in the form he produces. Our encounter or should I say non-encounter with him is over in a minute or two. He invariably comes on his cycle when the sun is over the head and  is hot. He would visit any number of homes and would not have remembered a single exchange of words worth remembering at the end of the day.
My first encounter with my postman started with a tiff. It was very hot that day and after a heavy lunch, I had dozed off. My wife was away. The postman had rung the bell twice or thrice. I opened the door with a frown on my face at the disturbance. He had a registered parcel for my wife and asked for her.
 I told him in abrasive tone”she has gone out. You may deliver it to me.”
 Possibly upset with my harsh tone he replied “I would need an authorization letter as per rules.”
“You are very punctilious especially when you know the addressee is my wife” I remonstrated with him.
 He politely replied” I was only doing my duty. Since I know both of you, I would have readily  delivered it to you had you been a little gentle”
It was only then that I noticed he was perspiring heavily standing in the hot sun with a big bundle. I requested him to come in and asked him to sit under the fan. He was hesitant initially but sat down when pressed. I gave him a glass of cold butter milk. I ascertained his name was Radhakrishnan and that he has been on this beat for the last twenty years. He had two sons and one girl and all of them studying.
He was touched by my kind enquiries and said “This was the first time anyone ever invited me into the drawing room and offered me a glass of cold water let alone buttermilk.”
“Do you like this arduous work of going out daily in hot sun or in rains on rainy days?”
 “I have no choice as I need to earn and so I decided to like it. Sorting of the letters was easy once one gets experienced. I have the opportunity to meet all sorts of people though the hazard of unchained dogs and tiresome climbing of the stairs of multi storied apartments poses  me a problem.You see I am getting older”he said with a smile.”
“I understand fully” I said in empathy
“It is not without its joy. I enjoy helping the illiterate with the occasional reading out the post cards. Though there are a few insensitive people making me wait at their doors taking their own time to chain the dogs or open the doors, most of the people are good and happy to see me at their doors.. I have no reason to be unhappy though walking through slushy roads during rainy days is difficult.”
Six months later, I had to get an affidavit urgently from a notary public. I didn’t know of anyone in the locality. The neighbours also could not help. It was then I saw Radhakrishnan in my colony on his beat. When I mentioned about this, he reeled out half a dozen names within a kilometer of my house. It was then I found that he knew well the people who lived in his area and enjoyed being helpful whenever approached.
 It was then the thought occurred to me that how many of us who work in the cool comfort of air-conditioned offices with transport or pick up facility  and yet keep griping about the well paid work little realizing there are people who enjoy their work even in unfavourable circumstances.
I was surprised at Radhakrishnan’s positive attitude and remarked “I am surprised how you like your work which to me does not appear comfortable.”
He laughed and said “Unlike you big officers, I am not chained to a table or a cabin all through the day. I am mostly in the open breathing fresh air and meeting a cross section of people. Most of them cheer up and smile when they see me bringing  a letter or a money order.. At the end of the day I do not have to carry the worries of the office to my home. I have many friends and interests. Life is not about earning money alone. I am quite happy,Sir.”

I realized that the postman had developed a robust and positive outlook towards life. He liked his job, worked efficiently, helped illiterate people, made friends and was cheerful. How many of us could boast of such a privilege? We are as happy as we wish to be.

24 comments:

  1. Its been a long time since I saw a postman. E-Mails have taken over. :(

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  2. nice post! We know our postman, he is a bhramin from UP and is hardworking and an extremely religious man. I really miss old days, when my cousin and I used to write letters to each other..sigh!

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  3. Frankly,it's been quite sometime that I saw a postman.

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  4. I am so proud of you. You were irritated but soon made amends. We are all humans, but correcting ourselves immediately is truly good.
    The postman, and sometimes the post woman both recognise me, whereas I knew they were delivering post, but i never knew them personally, until they spoke to me, and it felt so good to speak with them. Similarly, The gas delivery man too is very friendly, and would ask us very hesitantly whether he could pick up some ripe cashew fruits for his sister who was pregnant.
    These people work hard and the amount they are paid is not very much, the least we can do is being nice to them, and that itself would make the day for them.

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  5. I know our postman... He also happens to be my classmate's father... And these days, I hardly see them.. I have to tell you that I miss those old days when we wait for a letter to come or the excitement that follows when a letter comes!

    Interesting post

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  6. Wow tats a sooperbly written one.. i dont remember when i last saw our areawaala post man should be like 10 yrs bk..

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  7. Beautiful! Yes, very true that we can choose to be happy as much as we want.This story also reminded me of those olden days when I used to wait for the postman who would either bring a reject letter or accepted letter from the magazines to whom I sent my short stories regularly :-)

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  8. Nice story of a post man. Regular post man do make a kind of friendship unlike the ones who just come and go in a second esp. in this email world. Reading it, I also remember the postman who used to carry the status of my report cards long back every year and how each one the school kids pass messages about his arrival ..LOL :)

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  9. wow..!!
    thats a nice topic
    by the way, i even have our post man's mobile no :)

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  10. I resonate with your thoughts-enjoyed reading this post:)

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  11. Beautiful story. Always have loved your insights on life, people, living.

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  12. Very nice post.The way he answered your question saying that he returns home without any worries is just awesome.Thanks for sharing..!!

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  13. Very nicely expressed. So true.
    I have felt the same about our postman. I used to wait for him very eagerly as he got letters for me when I was in school.
    These days, with the advent of emails, hand-written letters don't have that charm; nor does our postman get to deliver all that bulk of mail as before.
    I appreciate your offer of buttermilk.
    I wish to do the same to all the people who come to my door.
    But, there are safety concerns - inviting private delivery - courier-boys etc to our home...

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  14. My mother in law always gave a glass of buttermilk to the postman. I think those acts of kindness are fast disappearing.

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  15. It is always good to be happy. We are trying to have a positive attitude here as well.

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  16. Aww, this is lovely, and I couldn't agree more! :-)

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  17. I love it when postman arrives :) getting a post still thrills me :D

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  18. Never neglect the small my mom used to say. Small meant people like maids, workers etc. She knew a lot of people who always helped her. I hope I pass on the quality to my daughters. Thanks for reminding me.

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  19. I have hardly seen a postman recently. But I guess, a little kindness goes a long way in making somebody smile. I also like his attitude of being content with whatever he is doing. Not many of us find pleasure in our jobs.

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  20. Now the courier has taken over postmen. But its a lesson to learn. How many of us really love, let alone like our jobs? Radhakrishnan is the personification of acceptance and contentment derived out of little or no choice given by life. Good write up

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  21. Here we have not a post man, but a post woman or post lady as we call her. Her name is Robin.

    Years ago when my oldest was in 2nd or 3rd grade she had to write a letter thanking the post lady. The very next day there was a prompt response from her. Since then we try to leave a cookie box or something addressed to "Ms.Robin" over holidays, but I admit we haven't done that in the last couple of years as we are mostly away for holidays.

    You are right, they are very essential part of our life yet we spend so little time. Good post KP. Glad to be visiting here after a long break.

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  22. I liked this post and it brought back many memories of the good old days. I miss those days of handwritten letters and sadly our postman who delivered them to me is no more now.

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  23. The little act of kindness can have a great impact.Lovely post with meaningful message.

    www.srikri.com

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