Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Day 3 - The holiest post office in the world

We seemed to be moving out well before 9AM for the trek back to civilization. A bit of a pity I feel, because it is only yesterday night that I have come to know about the fact that there actually is a post office in Kedarnath. A singular achievement of the Indian Postal service & it would have been great to have chatted with the Postmaster. I still decided to go over there for a few token photographs & drop my postcards. The post office is a small house off the main street & as I dropped my postcards in the mailbox, I spotted a couple of guys encased in Razai’s. After greetings were exchanged, they identified themselves as the postmaster & the postman. The postmaster turned out to be a rather humble man who invited me in to chat. I declined as M&P were waiting, but still talked to him a bit from the doorway. The post office remains open for six months in a year & then closes with the temple, when the whole village is abandoned. But on the days it does remain open, the mail is cleared every single day. Everyday a postman walks 14km up from Gaurikund, while another postman walks 14 Km down from Kedarnath. They do it without mules, regardless of rain or snow. I ask him if this was the toughest posting for a postmaster to be in. Not really he assures me. There were always worse places to be in. Up in Ladakh, or the China border. In fact, a lot more places which were a lot worse. I think he is rather happy here. I think postal employees are replacing teachers from my list of favorite professionals.
I would have liked to talk to him a bit more, but bid farewell. Leaving him behind with his razai’s warmth & with a topic to talk over his next cup of tea.

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