Ali was a shikari hunter for the majority of his life span. Ali had a daughter, Miriam, but he had paid no attention to his family it seems. Ali was a man without feelings. The only emotion he had was the trill of kill.
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Dhumaketu — was the pen name of Gaurishankar Goverdhanram Joshi, a prolific writer, who is considered one of the pioneers of the Gujarati short story. He published twenty- four collections of short stories, as well as thirty-two novels on social and historical subjects, and plays and travelogues.
His writing is characterized by a dramatic style, romanticism and powerful depiction of human emotions. The story the letter provides a very impactful message. We should take care that we do not hurt others, and if by mistake we do so, we should at least apologise by saying "sorry". He is unable to bear the pain of separation when his daughter Miriam leaves him after her marriage.
He feels lonely. He desperately waits for her letter, but in vain. His story casts an irresistible spell by the freshness of its theme, style and technique, a rich variety of incident, plot and situation, and its diverse world of distinctly individual characters, brilliant and idealistic.
He starts early when the whole town is asleep. Though he is poor and old, his faith and love for his daughter makes him bear the bitter cold as he plods supporting himself on a staff. The post office becomes his place of pilgrimage.
He dedicatedly goes there for five long years, sits there through the day ,is mocked and jeered at by the post office employees as he sits at a specific place each day. He is treated like a mad man by everyone and is the object of ridicule for one and all. They think that he comes in vain to receive a letter that would never come. They would call out his name falsely to indicate that he has received a letter and enjoy the disappointment on his face.
Ali —a changed man Ali was a skilled and clever hunter once. As he grew older he began to change. His only daughter Miriam married and left him to stay with her soldier husband from a regiment in Punjab. He transforms completely and feels lonely in her absence. Hunting no longer interests him.
He understands the meaning of love and separation when he misses his daughter and in the simple hope of receiving a letter from her someday he goes to the post office religiously. Although he has never received a letter, he keeps at it. Misery at the post office The post office becomes a place of pilgrimage for him because of the devotion and regularity with which he comes to visit it. Receiving a letter from his daughter becomes the sanctimonious purpose of his life.
Nobody at the post office seems to understand Coachman Ali. They are indifferent and use him only as a subject of their ridicule and derision. They just want to enjoy the sight of him jumping to the sound of his name. They just have fun and laughter at his expense, never for once trying to understand his pain.
But Ali, does not pay heed to the cruel treatment that he receives and with ceaseless faith and endurance he comes daily to the post office even if to go empty handed. The post office employees simply write him off as a mad man before the post master. Ali embraces death —remains hopeful Towards the end of his life Ali suffers from ill health and stops coming for a while.
At last he returns on recovering a little but signs of ill health, old age and approaching end can be seen on his face. He can no longer remain patient and pleads with the ill-tempered postmaster asking him if there was a letter for him The postmaster who is in a hurry gets irritated and calls him a pest. He is very rude to Ali and thoughtlessly and angrily scolds him. Ali is sad and helpless. His patience is exhausted but his faith remains intact. Ali is never seen again as he dies before receiving any letter 9.
The postmaster who was rude to Ali suffers just like Ali did. Time takes a turn. The postmaster is restless and anxious because he has not received any news from his daughter who is in another town and is unwell.
He immediately recalls the past and realizes the pain and anguish Ali must have gone through. He is filled with a deep sense of remorse and repentance for having been rude to Ali. He decides to hand over the letter himself to Ali. He hears a soft knock on the door at 5—thinks it is Ali who has come to receive the letter.
He opens the door immediately and sees old Ali bent with age standing outside. Actually it is a hallucination that the postmaster gets. Ali disappears as he came leaving the postmaster in a state of utter shock. Lakshmi Das, the clerk is shocked to hear the postmaster call out the name of Coachman Ali who has now been dead for three months.
The letter is found near the door. Lakshmi Das tells him about his last meeting with Ali to convince him. You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.
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The Letter by Dhumaketu
Para The sky was clear and the stars alight. The night was receding yielding space to dawn. A man in the throes of death reminisces about his happy times to draw comfort.
The Letter – Dhumaketu
The central character in this story is Ali who used to be a hunter in his days of youth. He used to be a skilled hunter and many said that it was because of his brutality on the poor animals that God had punished him and he was leading a lonely life in old age. Whatever be the reason, the poor man was in the habit of visiting the village post office every day. He would start for the post office quite early at the time of day break.