No one ever wrote to Nambi. He had given up on checking the white or blue envelopes resting in the traditional tree fork that made do for a post-red-post-box beside their gate; he knew that they weren’t for him anyway. So when Pazhani knocked on the door to ask him who the blue inland letter was for, he casually flicked it from his hand to perform a nonchalant translation. Trying his best to conceal his shock and awe at the name that was neatly typed in, he shut the door before the watchman could jeer, with the least triumphant “It’s for me”.
The door blammed shut and Nambi ran to the kitchen to fetch a carefully blunt, banana stained knife. He flopped onto the sofa and slit the letter open along the dotted lines, wondering if he were wrong in using a knife instead of a pair of scissors as instructed. In a post-caesarian exhaustion and glow, he whimpered twice before he gave up on guessing who it could be and unfolded it open.
He chuckled at the quibble of BRS’s sole tooth upon his lips as he balanced his fifties shell-specs upon his oiled white pate and taught them factorials. He remembered the doodles that BRS had admired and called nearly-geometric and his oft-redundant tales of his days as the Head of Department of Mathematics at the
The creak of a prim new chalk, like fingernails on the old board, and the discomfiture that riddled the room, as BRS killed the blundering chalk and cursed as he chucked the broken head out of the window.
The old typewriter that stood gathering dust and spider-eggs on a four-legged dunce-stool beside the sorry, chalk-washed blackboard in BRS’s bedroom-turned-classroom.
The two yellowed notebooks of incomprehensible mathematics, carefully board-transferred that BRS had always envied. He called it calligraphy and had shown him his calligraphy pen once. Out of the blue.
He wanted them now. And the neatly typed inland letter was a requisition.
Nambi treasured the letter and sought out to look for the books in the notebook melee of years of advanced and more incomprehensible mathematics.
He smiled and sat down to write his first inland letter as words failed him; his shoddy hand was no match for the perfections and imperfections of ribbon-ink on blue paper.