Post Office (short story)

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Template:Infobox short story "Post Office" is a Gujarati short story written by Indian writer Dhumketu (1892–1965). It was first published in 1923, and is considered Dhumketu's most famous and frequently anthologised short story. The story is about a father's affection for his daughter, and the apathetic bureaucracy of the local post office. It is notable for its description, narrative, and dialogues.


"Post Office" was first published in the literary journal Sahitya in 1923. It was later published in Dhumketu's first short story collection, Tankha (lit. 'The Sparks') Vol. 1, in 1926.[1]


The story takes place during wartime. The protagonist, Ali Coachman, was a legendary hunter in his early life, but he gives up hunting after his daughter Mariyam marries a soldier. Mariyam leaves her father and moves to Punjab with her husband. After that, Ali waits for a letter from Mariam and goes to the local post office every day before sunrise for five years. One day, when he realises that he might die soon, he gives five gold coins to the post office clerk Laxmidas, and asks him to deliver Mariyam's letter to his grave if it comes after his death. The postmaster and his staff make fun of Ali's daily routine. One day Ali stops coming to the post office, and the postmaster starts waiting for his daughter's letter. One day he notices a letter from Mariyam addressed to Ali. He goes to Ali's tomb with Laxmidas and places Mariam's letter on it.[2]


Considered to be a landmark in Gujarati literature,[3] "Post Office" is notable for its description, narrative and dialogues.[4] It is the most famous and frequently anthologised short story of Dhumketu.[5][6][7] The story was first translated into English by Dhumketu himself under the title "The Letter".[8] Another English translation was done by Mira Naik under the title "Miriam's Letter".[9]


  1. Das, Sisir Kumar (2005). History of Indian Literature: 1911-1956, Struggle for Freedom : Triumph and Tragedy. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 264. ISBN 978-81-7201-798-9.
  2. George, K. M., ed. (1997). Masterpieces of Indian Literature. 3. New Delhi: National Book Trust. p. 1701. ISBN 978-81-237-1978-8.
  3. George, K. M., ed. (1993). Modern Indian Literature: an Anthology: Fiction. Vol. 2. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 266. ISBN 81-7201-506-2.
  4. Topiwala, Chandrakant; Dave, Ramesh R., eds. (June 2008). Gujarātī Tūṅkī Vārtākośa ગુજરાતી ટૂંકી વાર્તાકોશ [Encyclopedia of Gujarati Short Story] (2nd ed.). Ahmedabad: Gujarati Sahitya Parishad. p. 56. OCLC 24870863.
  5. "The Post Office". Rediff. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  6. Joshi, Suresh Hariprasad (2001). J. Birjepatil (ed.). Ten Short Stories by Suresh Joshi. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 13. ISBN 978-81-260-1159-9.
  7. Mehta, Ashish (14 February 2021). "How Dhumketu transformed Gujarati literature with his short stories". The Indian Express. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  8. Ramakrishnan, E. V., ed. (2005). Indian Short Stories,1900–2000. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. p. 33–42. ISBN 978-81-260-1091-2.
  9. Dharmarajan, Geeta; Ramachandra, Keerti, eds. (2006). Night of the Third Crescent and Other Stories: Unforgettable Short Fiction from Some of India's Master Storytellers. Katha. p. 73. ISBN 978-81-89020-51-4.

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