The Letter - Summary

The Letter - Summary


“The Letter” is a story written by “Gaurishankar Govardhandas Josh”, popularly known as Dhumaketu, a famous Indian writer.
The story tells “How the feelings and emotions of a man should be taken care of”. What would be the consequences if anybody’s emotions are hurt”? “The patience exerted by an old man for waiting letter from his daughter and hoping till his death”. 
The story begins with a man named “Coachman Ali” who is walking towards a post office as usual in the cold morning bearing tittered clothes. A deathly silence prevails all around. 
On reaching the post office, he seems to be as happy as a pilgrimage would be on reaching his destination. He enters the office and sits at the corner where he was accustomed to sit for the last five years. 
The clerk begins sorting out the letters in his speed, flinging the letters to the corresponding peons.
Ali was a clever hunter and derived pleasure from the bewildered terror of the dying birds. As his skill increased, so did his hunting. But this was probably disliked by his daughter.
The day his daughter leaved him after marrying with a soldier, his regiment in Punjab, he stopped hunting. He could no longer enjoy the screams of dying birds. He had understood the meaning of love and separation.
Since then, he had been regularly visiting post office in early morning expecting a letter from his daughter Miriam, but it doesn’t come and returns home empty handed.
The post office staff often laughs at him when they see his habits. The clerk even calls out his name; jokingly even there was no letter on his name. Also there were often discussions on his lunacy.
For several days, Ali did not come to the post office. Everyone was curious to know the reason behind this. At last, he comes again, but, now it was difficult for him even to breathe and there were clear signs of his approaching end. 
Finally, he meets the post master and asks him for Miriam’s letter. As the post master was in hurry and was about to leave the country, he scolded him by saying that he would not eat his letter, if it would come.
Then Ali called a clerk and gave him five golden guineas and asked him to deliver his letter, if it would come, to his grave. He slowly left him and was not seen by any one after that. 
One day, the post master’s daughter fell ill and he was anxious to hear from her. He searched for the letter from his daughter from the pile of letters and picked up a letter of the name he expected. It was addressed to “Coachman Ali”.
Now he realized about his haughty temper towards Ali. He called Lakshmi Das, a clerk and asked him to find out Ali. That day he did not receive his letter and decided that he would hand over Ali’s letter to him, himself.
Next morning, he opened the door and saw Ali leaning on a stick with tears in his eves. His eyes had a light so unearthly that the post master was scared. But, suddenly he disappeared.
Then Lakshmi Das came and told him that Ali had died three months back.
Now the post master was bewildered and confused. He still had Miriam’s letter in his hand. That evening he himself went to Ali’s grave to place the letter.
Then, his attitude changed. He now saw the letters as the essential human hearts, not just the pieces of paper. He understood the essential human worth of a letter.

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