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Mr. Mathrubootham’s mystery mail

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Respected Madam/ Sir,

Two days back... sorry, sorry. Manners and all gone or what in 2019?

How are you? What are the newses in The Hindu? Hope everything is fine. Here everything is fine maybe 90-95%. Whether anybody is there in the world with life 100% fine? Only criminals.

Two days back postman came and said, “Mr. Mathrubootham one unusual thing is come for you.” I said, “What is it, tell me tell me tell me I am too excited.”

Madam/ Sir, ever since retirement I have had one secret dream. That one day I will get one surprise award from Government of India or Government of Tamil Nadu for meritorious public sector service or lifetime achievement in retirement or something like that. One day I am just Mr. J. Mathrubootham, next day suddenly Padma Shri Mathrubootham or Padma Vibhushan Mathrubootham or any award is ok. Femina-Miss India Special Award for Support of Ladies Mathrubootham. Anything is ok. Dreaming is free. Any license is needed? So far no, who knows in India.

So what happened when the postman said something strange has arrived? Immediately 10% of brain thought my god finally some award has come. Mannangkatti. Postman gave me one postcard. Enjoy Mr. Mathrubootham he said, as if Padma Shri has come. Rascal. (But he is very nice man, don’t misunderstand.)

I looked at postcard. One side there was photo of some bridge on river. Good scenery. Like we used to have on computer in my bank. Some foreign country stamp. Switzerland maybe. Who is there in Switzerland to send postcard to Mathrubootham?

Backside message is very short. It is saying: “Hello! Nice to meet you! Sending you postcard as promised. Regards from all of us. Your friend from coffee shop!”

No name. Only my flat number. Very, very mysterious. I showed to Kamalam. She said, “Please think properly. Did you go to coffee shop and put kadalai with some Switzerland, Czechoslovakia ladies?”

I said, “Kamalam what nonsense you are talking? Since marriage how many times you have seen me with other ladies?” For 45 minutes she gave detailed examples with time and place. Decades ago my mother had said, “Be careful kanna she is working in Income Tax department.” Did I listen? Never. Now suffering.

Who is sending postcard? Brain is on fire. I called my son in U.S. No. I called my son in bedroom. He said, “What nonsense, whether I will send postcard in 2019 like some barbarian?” I showed it to my friend Mohammed Usman. He said, “Mathrubootham, I have not touched postcard since 1980s. Maybe some secret message? We will put it in steam or under istri box.” For one hour we did steam and iron. Nothing happened but postcard got little damp and ink started flowing.

Then I showed to Dr. Shankaramenon. He said, “Mathrubootham, let us make list of all coffee shops you have visited last one year.” Whole evening we did investigations. Big zero. At 6 p.m., I went home. “Kamalam,” I said, “this is total mystery like Hitchcock film.”

At that moment Mrs. Nalini from upstairs arrived. I said, “What a pleasant surprise, glad to meet you after weeks and months.” She said, “Mr. M, did you get one postcard?” I said, my god! News is spreading in housing complex like dengue! She said, “Sorry, but postcard is for my son. Last month in airport coffee shop we met one Swiss tourist. My son said I am collecting stamps, will you please send postcard from home? Maybe tourist getting address wrong.”

I said ha ha ha, gave her postcard and quickly closed door before she notices that postcard is like rumali roti.

“Kamalam,” I said, “mystery solved. Postcard is for upstairs Nalini.” She said, “Oh you are glad to meet Nalini after weeks and months is it? Have some shame.”

Yours in domestic exasperation,

J. Mathrubootham

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 5:05:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/mr-mathruboothams-mystery-mail/article29863251.ece

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