Before the telephone and Internet marched into our lives and forever changed the way we communicate with each other, the old-fashioned postal system connected the near and far around the world through handwritten letters and postcards.
Those of us who have ever written a letter to somebody living far—a lover, friend, or even a relative, would absolutely relate to the long drawn anticipation and excitement that one harboured while waiting for postman ‘uncle’ or ‘bhaiya’.
These khaki-clad letter-carriers not only delivered letters. More often than not they were treated like family members by the residents of their routes, someone to confide in and even looked up to for guidance.
While the world has mostly moved on from physical letters, the postal system continues to exist, albeit only for official purposes and to deliver couriers, that our postmen continue to bring with them even in this time of lightning-fast communication.
For the people in Thrissur, there’s only one man who pops up in their head when someone says postman—Arangathu Ramankutty. Being the eldest postman in the city division, he has been delivering post since 1982 and has even received awards and accolades from the government for his dedication and commitment to the profession.
As a tribute to the man and his unparalleled service to the society, TJ Sreejith, a journalist from Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, wrote a heartwarming letter to Ramankutty that thanks him wholeheartedly on behalf of the entire city.
Not only does the letter feature Ramankutty’s journey as a postman from his early days, it also poignantly highlights what the man has come to signify for the people of Thrissur.
Here are some snippets from the letter to the postman:
The city has no habit of calling you by your name but postman. Only a few know your name. What else would the people call you, other than a postman? We know, that you love to be called by your designation than your name.
There was a time when Malayalees waited long for a letter. In those times, you were the WhatsApp and e-mail for us. The blue letters in your khaki bag was so exciting. Collecting stamps from the white letters is going to be passé.
When we think about you, what comes first to our mind is your Vetiver cap. You walked in and through Thrissur Round in khaki with your khaki cloth bag. No one has seen you walking so fast. When many postmen upgraded to cycles and motorbikes, you remain unchanged. We remember you saying that you walk 4-5 hours a day.
How many know that even your father K Krishnan was also a postman? When many dreamt to become a lawyer and doctors those years, why did you decide to become a postman? Maybe, it was your fate that you had to wear the khaki of your father when he fell ill.
Charming indeed, and a true heartwarming tribute to a fast fading era. You can read the entire letter here.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)