Braving thick forests, tough terrains, and wild animal attacks, D Sivan (66) a Thabalkaran, or postman, trekked 15 kilometers every day to deliver letters to some of the remotest villages in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamilnadu for 30 years. On some days, even if he had only one letter to deliver, he would still make the journey, traversing through steep hills, risky railways crossings, and pitch-black tunnels.
In 1985, Sivan joined the Indian Postal Service as a stamp collector in Wellington, a town located near Coonoor, TN, and in 2010, he was made a Gram Dak Sevak (mail deliverer). He retired from his post on 7 March 2020 and his story was brought to light by a group of filmmakers through a docu-movie named Thabalkaran.
During the time of his service, Sivan never took a day off, because he knew how important each letter, money order, and pension was for the villagers. During one such trek, he encountered a herd of elephants, and the mother elephant charged at him. A truck driver nearby honked at the animal and saved Sivan’s life. Now, the animals, including wild gaurs, are familiar with Sivan, and some even share a friendly nod when they encounter him.
Sivan may not be saving lives, but he is nothing less than a superhero. Here’s his story: