When Your Post Is Not Delivered

11357671284_3c225b66a3_nI am writing to you after a long gap. A sudden unanticipated inflow of work kept me occupied for the last two weeks. Such unexpected change in work schedule is part of scientific research. The work is not yet finished, but now I am getting used to the extra work. It also means that a lot of routine work has piled up — cleaning, organizing, refreshing social contacts, and yes, getting updated with what is going on in the world. So I sat down and browsed through the large pile of newspapers looking for anything interesting that I might have missed.

And then, this news item caught my attention. A postman hadn’t delivered his share of post for two long years and was suspended. The pile consisted of 14,000 letters. Today we are not surprised at delayed delivery or non-delivery of our posts. Perhaps that is the reason behind the popularity and preference for registered post, speed post, courier etc. And yes, e-mails — at least we do know whether they have been delivered successfully or not.

This news item reminds me of one TV serial on Doordarshan (what else!) which presented similar scenario and addressed the effects it might have on people’s lives. The only thing I remember about that serial is that the director and his wife were also actors in some of its episodes. The background of this serial was something like this — an old postman had died, his son found several bags of 20 years old undelivered letters. He made up his mind to deliver them. I am not sure if that is the correct version, but it was something like this only. Now, it implied that the letters reached the people 20 years later! And in all that time their lives had moved on; so everything was upset with the arrival of these letters. You know, however deep the wound be, time does heal it, and slowly we either recover from our experiences or at least get used to them. But if something turns up from our long forgotten past, it would not just bring mental agony and pain, but could also change our present day circumstances.

The only episode that I remember from this serial narrated the story of an old couple living in Delhi. They were daily labourers. The husband used to participate in election rallies also — you know, when leaders give public speeches, they need audience . . . and people are given 10-20-50 rupees to build up crowd, cheer and make noise. You know that, don’t you? Now, this couple, living such a life, one day received a letter from some Ansari in Jammu telling them that their daughter was with him, and asking them to contact him at the address given. The oldies were shocked because they had lost their daughter 20 years ago! As I told you earlier, the letter was sent 20 years ago, it is another matter that it took so long in reaching them. Well, the couple somehow collected money from here and there, and just managed to reach Jammu and knocked the door of the man who had written that letter.

Now, what had happened was like this — post partition, riots broke out, the little girl lost contact with her parents, and was picked up by a Muslim family. The gentleman found her approximate address and wrote a letter, which never reached. The parents on their part could not find their daughter and soon gave up hope. And now, 20 years later, this letter was telling them that their daughter was alive and safe.

However, everything was not well. On receiving them at his residence in Jammu, the gentleman grew sad and silent, and told them that they had arrived a bit late. He assuaged their apprehensions and told that the girl was perfectly fine. The problem was that the girl, now 24 years old, had got married just two days back, and was leaving the country with her husband the very next morning — from Delhi — never to come back again. That means, they had only one night to travel all the way to Delhi and try to see her off at the airport. In all his kindness and also to lessen his own burden of guilt, the gentleman gave them his private car with his driver to take them to Delhi. That is the whole story.

There are certain aspects of any piece of art that keep haunting you all your life — it could be a sentence from a novel, any image in a painting, a scene from a movie, or a moving melody. There were scenes in that episode — two to be specific — that have hammered the episode so deep in my memory that I simply cannot wipe it off.

While traveling from Jammu to Delhi, the driver stopped at a roadside dhaba to have dinner. He asked the old couple to eat something, which they refused — mainly to save time and money. At the dhaba, the driver happened to meet his friend, and the two shared their individual experiences. The friend told our driver that he was carrying a newly-wed young couple in his car and was having a gala time enjoying their romantic conversation. Our driver got jealous and cursed his fate for having to drive an old couple. All along the journey, the old couple had been pressing the driver to drive faster. The latter was getting annoyed and every time he was asked to go faster, he told them that he cannot do so because it was a hill route.

When the journey resumed, the old woman once again asked the driver to go a bit faster. Now the driver could tolerate it no more; he stopped the car and asked the two to get down. He scolded them heavily and refused to take them any further. The couple kept pleading, but he did not budge. When they got helpless, the old woman suffered an attack. The driver first thought that it was fake, but then realised that it was not so. He asked the man about the woman’s problem, who told him the whole story, and about his wife’s weak nerves. The driver was apologetic and made a promise to them — ‘However be the weather or the route or the traffic, I assure you that I would take you to the airport on time.’ Oh my, you should have seen that intense scene! And from then on, the driver rode like a mad man, zoom-zoom-whew-shooo . . .  And Delhi!

Second scene is from the airport. There the couple was refused entry, they got further delayed, entry was closed, and they could not meet their daughter. Then the driver took them outside — to the boundary of the airport from where the runway was partly visible. When the plane took off, and started flying in the air, the driver turned to the old couple and said, ‘Look there! In that plane . . . is sitting your daughter.’ The old people looked up at the plane, and waved their hands . . .

Do you remember the title of the serial or any other episode(s) from it?

Also See: Lalit And Navnindra Behl: The Couple Who Created Wonderful ‘Afsane’

Reference:

Mail comprised magazines, calendars and 2,000 Aadhaar Cards: 14,000 letters undelivered for 2 years, postman suspended, The Indian Express, 31 July, 2017.

photo credit: mikeyp2000 letterbox via photopin All rights reserved by the author

28 thoughts on “When Your Post Is Not Delivered

  1. Abhay

    Hello Amit Sir! you are one of among few bloggers, who pulls me at their blog, and to be frank you never dissapoints.
    Narration at its best! I think many should read this fabulous piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Untraveled Routes

    Honestly, I have never ever watched anything on Doordarshan! But I wish I could watch the serial you’re talking about in the post, it sounds so different from what we get to watch these days☺️ you have shared a beautiful post cum story👍👍

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. Hari Walia

    Hi…just bumped on your post whilst looking for the name of the serial you referred in your post. It was a beauty. Sadly it didn’t have many episodes. I remember waiting for the next episode each week but for some reason this is the only story I recall. I generally share it in my gospels when relating to life is all about perspectives, situations (those mini episodes of life), espl when people feel the same emotion but year apart. eg I came to know about the tragic death of a friend who had passed away some year back. Here I was sad and grieving but each person I rang in her family to give my condolences was surprised and didn’t seem much interested because all of them had moved on with their lives and no longer in that grief mode…anyway I should go back to google to find that serial name. Cheers. HW

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  4. Arvind Thanvi

    Dear Amit,

    Serial’s name was ‘Afsanne’. Thanks for sharing this story. I guess there were 13 episodes and this one story was the first one.

    It has been One of the most touching story. When I shared this story and concept to my teenage daughter, the curiosity to find and what these serial made us desperately find it on net/youtube etc but could not find any episodes or write up.

    The concept inspired her so much that she has recreated the whole plot with 16 stories on what happen when 16 yrs old letters were delivered and now published online on medium with id @meghanathanvi. (http://medium.com/@meghanathanvi)

    Thanks again Amit as this is the max writeup I have been able to find about Afsanne so far.

    Regards,
    -Arvind Thanvi

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  5. Pankaj Gupta

    Can i also ask you about few DD telefilms that were repeatedly telecasted…one was about a couple and two daughters who are very happy..but then the couple decide to have more children…and they go on to have 5-6 more children and their life is ruined..it used to have a message at the end in which the woman would say ‘kash maine us time doctor ki baat maan li hoti’

    second was about a family in which a suppressed ‘bahu’ inherits money from his lost lover who used to reside in her home as tenant before her marriage…at the end the family kils the women and use her money to live a happy life….

    then there was a telefilm about some ‘mr.rao’ who visits a couple after many years and stay with them…the husband however doubts him that he has come for some help..but in the end mr rao leaves them money…in the end the husabnd regrets and his dialogue was ‘wo to sirf pyar chahta tha aur humne wo bhi dene mein kanjoosi ki’

    i have some faded memories of these telefilms..but really enjoyed watching them

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    1. Amit Misra Post author

      Wow! You have a wonderful memory. I do not remember the first two stories. However, the third one is very fresh in my memory, as it was telecast comparatively later. As far as I do remember, the visitor who you call as Mr. Rao was played by Alok Nath. Another reason that I remember this story is that I myself have narrated it several times to my friends! One of them told me that he had watched this story as a Bengali programme. It means, different enactments of this drama must be available. It should be easier to find than other stories that you mentioned.

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  6. Pankaj Gupta

    Amit Ji
    I have no words to thank you..you have helped me transform to the most special era of my life…
    yes i remember this serial…the son of the postman first throws the letters in a well/pond…but later decides to deliver them…

    one of the episodes was about a teenage boy who thought that he was not the real son of his parents but adopted one…when one of the letters reaches him (i dont remember the letter’s content), his doubts become even stronger…but at the end he comes to know that the letter meant something else…and his parents love him.

    yet another episode (my favourite one) was a comic one..in which a young couple decides to run from home to marry…the girl’s family receive a letter which reveals the couple’s plan and they keep a watch on them…i remember a scene when one of the family members even tie the keys to the nada (strings) of his pyajama…in the end it is revealed that the letter was written 20 years ago by one of the elder members of the family…

    i crave to watch the serial again…can we write about it to DD?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Amit Misra Post author

      You have a strong memory Pankaj 🙂 I could not recall these episodes, though I do remember 1-2 other, though not very clearly. I suppose someone might upload it on YouTube. Several serials from that time are available there. So we can be optimistic.

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  7. Pingback: Lalit And Navnindra Behl: The Couple Who Created Wonderful ‘Afsane’ | Pradyot

  8. ranjeet k gupta (@ranjeetkgupta)

    Hi Amit jee. This story and its ending has been haunting me from a while. I distinctly remember the ending of the episode. The old couple watching in helplessness.
    I wonder if kids these days get affected the same way as 90s kids from these simple and innocent stories. I guess, it was also the simplicity of that time. (90s). Just one channel. No Breaks.Weekly shows. I used to wait for entire week for my favourite shows.
    Thank you for writing this post. I know now that I am not the only one looking for this masterpiece (yet understated) show. May be we should reach out to Kanu Behl (Lalit Behl and Navnindra Behl’s son, director of Titli)

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