‘মাইনে পেলে সবটা পাঠিও না।
কলকাতা থেকে টিফিন কেক এনো কিন্তু,
And that’s all!! Post cards were always open to all. Open for all.
‘Don’t need to send the last penny.
But please, remember to bring the tiffin cakes when you come from Calcutta!’
The last line was definitely written by an amateur. The ‘স্বরবর্ন’ and ‘ব্যঞ্জনবর্ণ’, the Bengali alphabets wrestled with each other to occupy as much of the yellow page, as they could. Maybe the tiny fingers awkwardly gripping the pen while jotting down the urgent wish, desperately wanted to overshadow the previous line, the sensible advice which usually comes from the elderly.
Could be someone of my age. I looked at the front and at the back of the postcard, which was never meant for me, neither the tiny letter box which had our address written in chalky white on it’s olive-green face.
Letters were posted then, the pre-email era and after a long winding road, they were dropped through the slits into the small wooden boxes which looked very much like the tiny bird houses they sell it in Home Depot.
One two anonymous would end up at the wrong home, discarded after a quick look.
But the one that I held in my hand that afternoon, needed to reach a man, a dad probably who had someone waiting for him eagerly. Waiting for him and also for those tiny square cakes, which at my home is hardly considered a treat.
I hid it in my school bag. Couldn’t throw it, neither post it. Like some thoughts, hidden deep within us, worried to be delivered and so hard to forget.
They stay with us forever and we carry them willingly.
It is wonderful not to know the ending sometimes and more fun when the faces remain unknown. The letter, with it’s wish list stayed with me for many years, till I grew up to loose to it’s value. Like my friends, I grew up fast only to fail slowly to find the charm in small things of life.
(Artwork: Piu Mahapatra)