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Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
India post

Carrier Of Words

Beyond the last railhead and after the road crumbles into sand, it is these dak sewaks who are the sole link between the oases of humanity in India's extremes and their faraway families

Carrier Of Words
T. Narayan
Carrier Of Words
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Some 120 km beyond the last railhead at Barmer, 50 km beyond the last phone and 10 km beyond where the Barmer-Chohtan road directionlessly crumbles into sand so soft that even bicycles can't ply, that's where 55-year-old Khetaram's footprints appear along sand beds and dunes. It is his bodily effort that ensures that the mail—transferred from the mail train onto buses before being hefted onto his shoulders—is delivered at the border, within 24 hours of dispatch from Jodhpur, 330 km away.

Often, the impress of his footprints reveals the weight of his mailbag. Regulations stipulate that his load cannot exceed 28 kilos. But in the summers, when the sands sizzle under his mojri-clad feet, Khetaram says: "Even a single delivery is killing, as I have to cover 20 km for that delivery."

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