When life comes a full circle

Aspire India
4 min readAug 10, 2020

At a time when walking a kilometre or two itself seems exhausting, imagine a job where voyaging 23 kilometres by foot is a daily staple. If you’re wondering who this is, I’m talking about Mr. Sakkarapani, the regional postman for the hilly district of Kolukkumalai, Munnar. He’s seventy-five years old and stays for rent in the porch of a wealthy landlord, relatively close to the post office. Life there is unlike anything one knows of in the cities. Since the area consists of sister mountains, no medium of travel suits best than afoot. He starts his day at five in the morning, goes to the nearest waterfall to take a refreshing bath and heads over to the woods for some quiet time. He sits on the same rock, every day in a position, comfortable enough to begin his dose of meditation. To him that one hour is what helps him best rejuvenate for the long journey that awaits. Not to mention, it clears his mind off of all the baggage that his heavy heart carries. So, after inhaling the brilliance of a wonderful winds and some deep introspection, he heads back and changes into his work-wear.

The post jacket might be old, but wearing it every day brings in a smile to his face. He quickly finishes a simple meal that is provided and heads out to the post office. First one to venture into the premises, he glances at the rays of the sun beaming through the crooked glass windows and heaves a sigh of joy.

He then collects the letters for the day and checks if they are arranged chronologically- of course, he wouldn’t want to miss a single one for he knows the value that each letter holds. They aren’t just simple pieces of paper, but delicate information that could make or break a person’s day!

He steps out and begins treading from one house to another delivering simple letters, money orders and even a few speed posts along the way. Every household he goes to has a different scenario playing out. In one particular one, however, he witnesses a married couple in the middle of a heated argument with the wife breaking down, unaware of a solution to her husband’s alcohol abuse.

A hesitant Sakkarpani knocks on the door. The woman quickly wipes off her tears and greets him with a half-smile. He hands over a specific envelope and notices a visible change of expression in the woman’s face. It was from her mother. She immediately tears open the mail to read its contents. And in all the gloom, a single suddenly letter filled her face with merry, after realizing that her mother’s health is alright. She then runs to the kitchen, scuffles through a few stainless-steel boxes, gets her hand on the biggest piece of Jalebi lends it to the postman with a bright glee.

But to her surprise, the old man’s expression quickly dims. Perfectly capturing the mood were the skies that also turn dark, followed by an unexpected downpour. Worried whether his letters would get damp, the lady asks him if he has a raincoat to which he nodded a no in despair. Puzzled, she went on to question him about his address and family. But before she could ask anything further, Sakkarapani’s face twitches in tears as he bawls “My family doesn’t like me”

The women, now enraged exclaims “what kind of children would leave an ageing father behind?” to which he starts wailing more profusely. The concerned lady watches as he goes on to explain how he was an alcoholic too, and tyrannized both his wife and his son to such an extent, that they left him five years ago. “My son, now settled in Chennai with his mother, is far away from the abusive man they once considered family” sighs Sakkarapani. “And today, not only has alcoholism left me, but my family too! Now with the meager salary I earn, I live life at the mercy of my landlord for food and shelter, with no purpose or love”.

Understanding the extent of his wounds, the women feels sorry. She wants to return the favor for the postman who brought a smile to her face. So, she quickly gets up, picks her drunk husband’s phone and asks Sakkarapani for his son’s number. Although uncertain of the move, the lady’s persistence convinces him and he slowly narrates the number, recollecting digit by digit. As the phone rings, his hands tremble and he almost froze in shock the minute he heard a ‘hello’ from the other end. It took him a pause to clear the lump in his throat and respond.

But much to his astonishment, the distant son, quick to recognize his father’s voice goes “baba, is that really you?” The grey-bearded man, once again got inundated by tears at the dams of his eyelids as the father-son duo, both pour their hearts out for 10 whole minutes. Towards the end his chronic frown is healed by a broad grin as his son promises to mail him the tickets to the next bus to Chennai along with a new mobile phone.

And finally, for the first time in five years, life comes a full circle, as Sakkarapani places the mobile down, all excited for the mail that awaits him.

~Bhavani~

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Aspire India

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