“Nanu is unwell. He is refusing to smile,” announced the village milk man to another villager.
The news galloped at the speed of Arab steeds throughout the village.
Soon, a few village elders went to Nanu’s house with grave concern writ on their faces.
Nanu not smiling was kind of a catastrophe in the small village.
The villagers looked forward to Nanu’s gentle smile everyday even more than to the mail he delivered.
“Entirely my fault; I should be hit with slippers for this stupidity!” wailed Nanu’s wife.
“There there,” said one of the elders, “Tell us quietly what happened.”
“It happened a few days back,” said she, “We were discussing this and that. Suddenly I asked Nanu, ‘You’ve been distributing letters everyday, but have you ever received even one? No one indeed to write to us.’
From then Nanu started brooding…and fell silent… and now he is bedridden for the first time in recent years.”
“You have foolishly rubbed in about your childlessness… not to worry, he will be alright,” said the elders.
One of the few things which could erase Nanu’s smile was the thought of his not having children. His wife’s insensitive words had made a deep impact on Nanu.
That evening almost the entire village gathered at the small function hall with bundles of paper. While the school teacher dictated, others wrote furiously.
Next morning, a big bundle of letters was delivered to Nanu’s house. For the first time, the postman was literally at the ‘receiving end’.
As the villagers looked on, Nanu, eyes overflowing with tears, started reading the letters written by his caring neighbors.
“We villagers are all your children…,” said one.
“You can call me your daughter-will rush to your side whenever summoned.” wrote a young damsel.
“We want your smile back, Nanu!” wrote another.
…And so on.
Next day, Nanu was back at work, his warm smile back on his gentle face.