The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore

The Postmaster – Rabindranath Tagore
            The postmaster, who belongs to Calcutta, is posted in a small village of Ulapur.  His office and living room are in a dark thatched shed.  He is educated and refined and he is not able to mingle with the local
illiterate workers of the indigo plantation.  Ratan, an orphan girl of about twelve or thirteen years does most of the household chores for him.  She brings him water from the river for his bath, and lights up his hookah.  Sometimes she tells about her family, and the postmaster too describes his mother and sister.  In his spare time, the postmaster teaches her alphabets.  The poor girl is greatly attached towards the postmaster.
            One day, the postmaster becomes ill suddenly.  At once Ratan is transformed to a tender – hearted mother.  She calls the local            “vaidya” and gives him the medicinal pills at the right times.  She prepares his special diet and remains awake all right by the bedside.  She affectionately calls him ‘dada babu.  Gradually the postmaster gets well, but he decides to resign his job and go back to his native place, as his repeated appeal for transfer is rejected.
            As the postmaster packs up his belongings, Ratan asks him to take her also along with him.  The postmaster laughs and says, “How can I do that? “ Ratan is terribly upset by these words, and they words ring in her ears even in her sleep.  In the morning, the postmaster finds water ready for him to take bath.  After his bath, he asks Ratan not to worry because he will tell his successor to look after her.  She cries and asks him not to tell anybody about her.  Before leaving, the postmaster gives her a part of her salary to support her for a few days.  Ratan falls at his feet and asks him not to give anything to her.  She runs away from that place.
            The postmaster sighs, and walks slowly towards the boat.  As he gets into the boat, he suddenly wants to go back and bring the orphan girl with him, but the boat starts moving fast.  He consoles himself with the thought that life is full of such painful partings.  As for Ratan, she has no such insight.  She wanders around the place with the faint hope that her “dada babu” will come back. 

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