– By Dhumaketu
– This story revolves around coachman Ali, an old ailing man who was also an ex-hunter.
– He has been visiting the local post office daily a pilgrim like from last five years, no matter the weather conditions.
-The employees at the post office make fun him. And think that he is a mad man.
-Coachman Ali daily watches the clerk read name after name of the letter recipients and patiently waits for his name. But leaves empty handed.
-And still he doesn’t gives up the hope and visits the post office daily.
-Apparently he had a daughter named Mariam,his only child, and she was married to a soldier. He never heard from her after her marriage.
-He also left hunting since he knew the pain of separation after his daughter left.
-One day Coachman Ali had an quarrel with the Postmaster and gets humiliated when the postmaster calls him a ‘pest’.
– Coachman Ali hands over five guineas (bucks) to the clerk Laxmi Das and tells him to deliver Mariam’s letter at his grave.
– After that Ali is not seen for a long time.
-Meanwhile the postmaster’s daughter gets sick in another town and he has to rely on a letter to hget to know her condition. He then understands Coachman Ali’s condition and longing to listen from her daughter.
-To his shock he discovers Mariam’s letter while going through letters in hope to find his daughter’s letter.
– The very next morning he delivers the letter to Ali personally as an apology for his crude behavior toward Ali.
– But to his horror he finds out that Ali has been dead since last 3 months. And indeed finds the letter at Ali’s doorstep.
-Later he and Laxmi Das deliver the letter at Ali’s grave.
– And the postmaster spend another night in restlessness as he waits for his daughter’s letter.
Important Questions and Answers:
Answer in 30-40 words:
- What kind of life did Ali lead as a young man?
- As a young man, Ali had been a clever and skilled hunter. He was always successful in finding a partridge where others had failed. His sharp sight could spot a hare crouching low in a bush, when even dogs failed to see it. He hunted animals mercilessly.
2. When and why did he change his attitude?
- His attitude changed when his daughter Miriam got married and shifted to another place. Then, he realized the pangs of separation and concluded that the world was made of love and sorrow. He left his old ways of hunting and now kept waiting for his daughter‘s letter.
- How was the postmaster a changed person in the end?
- The post master now saw through Ali‘s heart. He also realized Ali‘s feelings, while waiting for his own daughter‘s news, who was ill in another town. He now understood Ali‘s pain and agony that he experienced, while waiting for the letter. He was no longer ill-tempered as he was in the beginning.
Short Answer questions in about 30-40 words:
- Highlight Ali‘s character traits as a Shikari.
- What was the reason behind Ali‘s transformation?
- Why was Ali considered to be a madman by the post office officials?
- What was the attitude of the postmaster towards Ali?
- Ali had “exhausted his patience but not his faith”. Explain.
- What do we understand about Ali‘s character from his regular visits to the post office in spite of all the humiliation that he faced?
- How Ali‘s faith is finally vindicated?
- “The haughty temper of the official had quite left him”. What change came about in the official and how?
- “He dropped it as though it had given him an electric shock‘. What is being referred to? Why was it such a shock?
- What promise did Ali extract from the clerk and how did he ensure that the promise is fulfilled?
- What significant lesson did the postmaster‘s experience teach him?
- How did doubt and remorse trouble the otherwise cold and merciless postmaster?
- The officials at the post office had much fun at the expense of Ali. Cite two examples to prove this.
- What was the postmaster‘s state of mind after he had given Ali‘s letter to Lakshmi Das for delivering it to him
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS:
- Elucidate on the happiness Ali would‘ve felt had the letter come before his death
- Comment on the vivid phases of Ali‘s transition
- Do you think Miriam had deliberately left her father? Why? Why not?
- Do you think Ali had a peaceful death? Why? Why not?
- Make a character analysis of the Post Master.
- Ali is a true representative of modern parents who are abandoned by their children. Explain.
- “The newly awakened father‘s heart in him was reproaching him for having failed to understand Ali‘s anxiety‘. As the postmaster write a diary entry outlining your feelings about your former behavior with Ali.
- Imagine you are Ali .You are completely exhausted by your futile visits to the Post Office. Write a letter to your friend Ashraf telling him about the disappointment and humiliation that you undergo every day at the Post Office and your decision to not go there anymore.
- Justify the title- The Letter
- Imagine that Ali writes a letter to his daughter Miriam after he hands over the five guineas to the clerk at the post office. Write his letter.
- Imagine you are Lakshmi Das. You have finally fulfilled the promise that you made to Ali. Write a letter to your friend expressing how satisfied and relieved you are
- Imagine Ali writes his diary daily. He feels disgusted with life in going to the post office and waiting daily for Miriam‘s letter which never comes. This feeling of utter despair has been triggered by the Postmaster‘s insult. Ali writes his diary page that evening. Write that page.
- After 5 years, Miriam writes a letter to her father, expressing her personal problems for which she could not write. Write the letter on behalf of Miriam.
- Lakshmi Das writes a letter to Miriam, mentioning the sudden death of her father Ali. Write the letter, giving details of Ali‘s sufferings and hardships.