At 8:00 am, Palash picks up his stick and put on his veteran army cap to take a stroll. As usual, he gets greeted by Kalu outside his door.
Kalu just loves to accompany him to his endless multiple walks to the post office. He is a good boy, a hyper, young pup but he walks slowly to match Palash’s frail speed.
Kalu, has more patience and empathy towards Palash than anyone else.
All these years of serving the country and running errands for his own family have taken a toll on Palash’s pace.
Today, the frail and stooped Palash has reached the postal office premises little early. Hence, had to waited on the bench under the shade of a large shady tree.
He took his usual cup of tea from the tea shack and mixed his calcium medicine in it.
Kalu barks in excitement as soon as he hears the packet of Parle-G biscuits open. They share what one might call a ‘bed-tea’ in arms of Mother Nature.
Around 8:45am the guard opens the premise gate and slowly the staff begin populating the office cabins and finally, the Post Master arrives.
As Palash enter the office, the Post Master looked at him with agitation.
Post-Master: “Oh God Mr. Palash, how many times do I have to tell you that there is no letter to your name? You don’t have to come here every day.”
Office boy: “Sir, please stop hallucinating! Nobody writes nowadays, it’s just bills, insurance papers and couriers. If someone finds time to write, we will send it to your address even if it’s not addressed to you.”
Heavy-heartedly, Palash was returning empty-handed for the 12th time in a row.
While stepping out of the post office premises, he softly told the guard in a helpless tone, “Please check if there is a letter addressed to me in today’s lot. It’s very important to me. I’ll be sitting outside, under that huge shady tree.”
By 12:30 afternoon, all his enthusiasm melted away in the scorching heat of the flaring sun. He made his way home with his fragile steps.
Sitting in his rocking chair at home, he listens to “Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye, Jab Koi Mushkil Padd Jaaye….” from the movie ‘JURM’ on his old music player, Carvaan that contains some 300 old songs. But this one song in particular is played the most.
Palash was often called the ‘Vinod Khanna’ of his good young days. He looks at himself in the mirror and zooms in on his wrinkles and saggy skin around the chin; smiles and says “You aged better than Vinod Khanna, himself. Don’t worry, she won’t forget.”
It’s almost 10 pm now, Palash is snoring on his sofa-cum-bed while the news is blasting at a high volume on his TV screen.
The guard arrives on his cycle and rings the bell multiple times. Since no one answers, he calls out to the neighbour to check, who instantly bring an extra key. Everyone rushes in panic.
“Palash babu?” calls out the guard in a soft voice but he does not respond.
Worried that something unfortunate had happened to the old senile man, he asks the neighbour to take him to the hospital.
Just then, Kalu leaps into the house and jumps right on to his chest and starts licking his face. To everyone’s surprise, Palash wakes up.
“I am sorry it took me so long to come” the guard gives him an envelope with beautifully handwritten address on it:
B7, House no.04,
Sarat Bose Road
I am well and missing you. I will be arriving in 5 days with my grand-daughter. Hope you have made all the arrangements for the wedding. We have been busy with same too. My back has been giving me some issues. But I am very excited to travel to Calcutta to see you.
Happy 60th Birthday Dear. Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye, I’ll always be there for you.
Can’t wait to spend the rest of what is left of my life, with you.
Yours Truly, Bride to be, Jaya.
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a person living or otherwise may be purely coincidental