Sunday, October 18, 2009


The other day at the General Post Office, it was a Sunday afternoon, there was this crowd of poorly-dressed men crowding and jostling at the counters and preventing the rest of us from getting any work done. Was irritated and trying to find other free counters when I realized what was happening - they were apparently laborers and had come to send their wages to their families perhaps, and wanted to make money orders. And none of them could read and write, so the counter people had to write each one of the money orders one by one while these people gave addresses in broken language, sometimes repeating them many times anxiously, perhaps worrying that their hard-earned money would get lost somewhere because there was no way they could check if the man at the counter was writing them correctly.

Thought of their families far away in small villages waiting for these slips of paper.

Most of them did not even have slippers and looked rather lost in the huge vaulted GPO hall with its majestic dome and giant pillars and surrounded by the rest of us educated well-dressed confident city people.

What different worlds we inhabit, living shoulder to shoulder in this vast country.

October 2003

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