Memories of times post

BG Verghese’s tour d’horizon in Post Haste is an evocative tale woven around postal stamps, writes Pradyot Lal: Tehelka

post hasteThe romance of the post has been celebrated in poetry and prose. It has traveled long distance even when the means of communication were primitive. The strength of the message carried the day. BG Verghese offers a tour d’ horizon spanning several centuries to come up with vignettes of social and political history that may not be found in textbooks and conventional tracts. He painstakingly etches the picture of an incredible India both as a modern nation state in the making and an ancient civilisation that has bound together an amazing heterogeneity of peoples, races and faiths. The multiplicity of the India story is sought to be captured by a tale woven around its postal stamps.

Admittedly, it is a story worth telling. There are some highly evocative references to the rainbow country which would interest those who see history as an episodic structure waiting to unfold. There are delectable flourishes here and there. Sample this one: “One can only surmise it was a love letter that would be secretly carried by a trusted handmaid to an ardent lover. Another famous letter written in literature is that of Shakuntala to King Dushyanta in Kalidasa’s immortal fifth century Sanskrit play, Abhijnanasakuntalam, as retold from the Mahabharata.”

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