Open Page

Embalmed epistles

Stack of old letters tied in red ribbon  

I have a bunch of old unsent letters with me, entrusted to me by my colleagues years ago to be dropped into the postbox of a main post office on my way home from office. Those were the days when people solely depended on the postal service for communication. Couriers were unknown. E-mail was science fiction.

I forgot to post these letters, though their poor authors repeatedly pleaded that I should not for heaven’s sake forget to post them. Now after 30-odd years, I am not able to forget the words of caution with which each of them was handed over to me. The oldest is an inland from one Mr. T who said, “Please post it at T. Nagar main post office. It carries a very important message. Heads will roll if it fails to reach the addressee by tomorrow.” This letter dated March 11, 1981 is still lying in front of me. When I first found it lying in my bag about two weeks after I undertook to post it, I panicked. I thought of immediately posting it at the General Post Office. But my brother to whom I confessed my crime told me not to do so. “If you post it now, the postal mark will give you away. If anything bad was to happen due to this letter not reaching the addressee, it should have happened already,” he said. I took his advice and placed it in a black box in which others of its kind were laid to rest.

Once I even felt tempted to open these letters to know if they really contained any important message or matter. I nipped this urge in the bud not only because I considered it indecent to read others’ letters but also because I feared that they might haunt me for a lifetime. I can neither post them now nor bring myself to destroy them. I know there is the Dead Letter Office, where undeliverable letters get dumped.

Once I thought of sending these forgotten-to-be-posted epistles there. But I gave up that idea.

The reason was that these letters are not dead. They are very much alive. Whenever I touch them, they give me a mild shock. I am sorry to mention here that three of the writers of these live letters are dead. It is ironic that the letters are alive, but their writers are not. Could anyone suggest a way by which I can be delivered of these live letters?

mr.m.r.anand@gmail.com

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 11:01:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/embalmed-epistles/article32820060.ece

Next Story