Published:  12:00 AM, 15 December 2016

The goddess of letters and telegrams

The goddess of letters and telegrams
'Those letters are sent already and for the last time' - he was directly looking into my eyes and added with the worst possible indifference in his voice -'you are never going to write a letter again to anyone'- as if a negative in a sentence meant nothing, as if he forbade only to forget.

And the previous night I had dreamt of the Goddess of Posts. She was wearing a telegram-printed sari; and her hands were carrying some of the best postcards in the world. But, to my utter surprise, she looked like our grandma. Half-extinguished eyes under thick glasses, grey hair and wrinkles all over the face just forced her to look like a human-woman which she never was nor wanted to be. Deaf and dumb by birth, maybe she was the saddest of the goddesses, of all lands and times! I wanted to comfort her and was trying to write a 'note of empathy' but there was not a single pen around. Only a kohl-pot I could find nearby and thought I would use my finger to write that note. I stooped down to dip my index finger into the pot and started writing only to find that the goddess had already disappeared leaving behind a sealed letter, and obviously with a postcard carefully pasted on it.

'So…could you open the letter?' -he asked without expecting an answer. But I answered in the affirmative, and read aloud from my memory what I had exactly found in that letter.  'Dear Little Letter-Writer,  This is my last words to the humans and through these I am asking you to stop writing letters and sending telegrams. It is a humble request from this aged Goddess who, like your too-old grandmothers, is preparing to leave the world.

Dear, I was supposed to be immortal like other Goddesses and I was also meant to stay young until Time itself dies. But humans wanted so very much to get rid of me. I am Time's best friend by birth and I was fond of its unbearable beauty. I was being cursed for that, I didn't know. So many hearts and eyes, tired of waiting, were expecting my death. I thought I was the world's darling until one day a very old man, looking towards the sky, cursed me aloud saying that his whole life was a painful waiting for one single reply of his letter he had sent to his only son. He wished post offices had never been created!

Now giving up immortality and eternal youth, I am preparing my own funeral. So don't write letters anymore. Send no telegrams. Please, obey your father.  Waiting for anything is intolerable, I have learnt at last! I can't even wait for my death.'  My father smiled away as my tears obscured his love for me.

The author teaches at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University

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