The Chief is rather addicted to a game called Postman’s Knock. Not so The Man from Madras Musings who much prefers his relations with the postman to be purely platonic. But there are days when MMM’s path crosses that of his postman and this month has been one such. That, however, was not because of it being the festival of light when postmen and other creations of God suddenly become much too visible.

The first indication of a real knock came about when MMM opened the post box and took possession of the mail. Among the missives that had landed at chez MMM was one of those black-bordered Government letters that are open to one and all for reading. MMM got the shock of his life when on perusing it he found it to be a tax demand for a figure that stretched to six digits. Having tottered to a nearby chair and restored himself with a glass of water (MMM is abstemious in the extreme), MMM read it more carefully and this did not help. The note, terse to a degree, declared that this was the last and final letter that the tax authorities were sending. It was tantamount to a parting of ways. But they were not done with that. Live and let live was clearly not their policy. Now that the receiver of the notice had proven that he was a malapert knave, the tax authorities had decided to take possession of the property on which the sum referred to above had been due since time immemorial. In short, they had decided to render MMM homeless.

The letter fell from MMM’s nerveless fingers. It fell front upwards and it was then that MMM noted that the notice was not for MMM at all. It was for a sports facility not far from MMM’s demesne. MMM’s relief was considerably mixed with righteous wrath. What business had the postman to deliver such a letter to the wrong address thereby causing in MMM palpitations, a heightening of blood pressure and a sense of imminent doom? No doubt a significant percentage of MMM’s longevity had been reduced by this letter landing at his doorstep.

It was then that MMM turned his attention to the other letters. He was quite surprised to find them all addressed to various people in the neighbourhood. Not one of these was meant for MMM. He then made enquiries with the watchman at his premises and sure enough that functionary had the answer. MMM’s house, said the watchman, was the oldest residence on the road. And the postman was in a hurry. He had thrown everything into MMM’s postbox because he was sure MMM knew all the recipients and so would ensure that everyone received their mail! Talk about subcontracting in a service economy!