Every Sunday, Sheela aunty would check her mail box. The rusty mail box, in the centre, middle row of the mailboxes, at the entrance of the apartment’s lobby, was hers. She had a small key, hidden away in deep pocket of her purse. She had neither time nor interest to open the box everyday. What was the need any way? All it contained, now days, were the promotion offers and junk mail. Sunday was reserved for spring cleaning, attending to odds and ends and sorting from such junk mails for some discounts and offers at the stores and supermarkets.
Combing her grey and black hair with her bony fingers, she wriggled it round to form a bun, and sat down on an easy chair to sip a cup of coffee. “Lemme see, wat offers dey have, dopar ko kuch shopping-hopping ho jae?” she mumbled as she slowly and carefully, stretched to pick the bunch of papers and envelops from the centre table.
She looked at the colored postcard that had slipped through the pile of sheets onto the floor making that soft peculiar sound.
“Hai Rabba! Yeh kya hai?’ she mumbled as she bent down to pick up the post card. ‘Oh God! What is this?’
“Wah! Kya tasweer hae! Lovely! ” she mumbled as she saw the card. ’Wow! what a picture’
She flipped the card around to see a name of the sender
“Haey, yeh kya? Kaun hai? Sunil? Yeh Kya mazak hae?” she grumbled as she looked in my direction. ‘Oh what’s this? Who is this? What Joke is this?’
I looked up from my books, in her direction, to meet her gaze, irritated by her loud grumbling. She beckoned me.
“Kis choree ne tumhe yeh card beja hai? eh? bolo?” she said as she flagged the card in front of her. ‘Which fellow has send this card to you? Tellme?’
“Oh no! Aunty! Is that for me?’ I said as I jumped from my seat and ran to grab the card from her to examine it.
The scenic beauty captured on small, two by four, glossy, post card was astounding! The snow covered mountains, a cable car, masked people, dressed from head to toe in body suit, gliding through the wavy path, snaking down the tracks, balancing their trip with long poles. The scene brought back those beautiful memories of long time ago, of my trip to Switzerland with my school friends during Christmas holidays.
I flipped the card to see the name.
Neatly scrawled was the phrase ‘Wish you were here’ and signed ‘Sunil’
‘Sunil? Did I know any Sunil?’ Oh yes! Now I remember! Maybe, it must be that SuniL with dimpled cheeks and fair skin, who would smile and go blinkblinkblinkblink every time he would see me. How sweet of him to remember me on his trip. Or..ump…it must that Sunil, the one with long hair and pimpled skin. Oh! How I hated his hair band. Who ever heard of men wearing hair band like that? Ugh..I hope it is not him. Er...Er…Mmmn…lemme see….I think It must be that Sunil, the one I had met at a party, last year. My friend had told me that he lived abroad and was just visiting Mumbai for his holidays. We had spoken briefly, nothing personal, but yes we had talked over the cup of coffee…but did I give him my address?..umph..!
“Kis choree ne tumhe yeh card beja hai? eh? bolo?” My aunt repeated, almost screaming now. When my aunt roars, she resembles a ogre, who has just come out from a deep sleep!
“Sheela aunty, this card is from Sunil, Sunil uncle, don’t you remember Sunil uncle? The one with whom you had played a game of Bingo? Don’t you remember how he let you win the game, wohi Sunil uncle, Yaad aayah?” ‘remember?’
“Haey? Sunil Uncle?..I don’t remember anyone of that man.. aey Rabba..kaun ho sakta hai?.... kooch bhi kaho, par card bada sundar hai…..hai na jaan? Who can it be? Whatever you say, it’s a beautiful card. Isn’t it so, love?