Unreturned Love — By Vinitha Rajan

A postman professes his love to one of the women he delivers letters. What happens next? Read this intelligently crafted little story by Vinitha Rajan for #RomanticRendezvous. 


I fell in love with her right hand. Every Tuesday as I pedalled along the red dusty road under the merciless sun I dreamed about her fingers – slender, slim and the colour of the mild tea mother served me every evening. I would imagine those hands serving me food and whole lot more. I would be at her yard before I could really relish my dream.

Chickens would scatter and the dog would growl from a distance pretending to be brave. No one else would be around. Tring! Tring! Her window would open partly as I rang the cycle bell and Parimala would stretch out her bare hand to collect the letter I had for her and pass me another with coins for postage. It was always addressed to the same person – Purushottam. Her writing made my heart race. “I will see that it is on the van tomorrow,” I would promise and wait for the shiny brass tumbler filled with frothy buttermilk. I would then sit on her front pouch, pull the sweaty khaki cap off, wipe my sweat off on the hanky I always carried as I savoured the buttermilk.  It always hit the spot. I attributed it to the hands that served them. Yes,  I was in love.

We never spoke. Or rather she never spoke.  Shyness, I told myself chuckling. I knew her name. I knew her right hand as well as I knew the roads that connected the six villages I served as the postman. The tiny knuckles rounded like marbles and the yellow under her nails were all I ingrained in my mind. I imagined the rest – hair dark as night, a face round like the moon, a smile shy and yet bold.

I delivered letters to her for 2 years – a single letter every week from the big city. I could have opened her letters (like I did with others) but I never did.  I preferred the suspense and made up stories about a busy father or a dutiful brother writing to her. Maybe I just was being fanciful.

I tried to write her a letter – a word at a time, discarding easily and often. I brought her yellow and red bangles, wrapped them in my hanky and placed it in the envelope.  I placed the envelope in my left pocket, right next to my pounding heart and started pedalling.

I delivered two letters to the unadorned waiting hand. “I don’t need anything to drink,” I muttered and cycled without looking back.  All week I dreamt about the yellow and red bangles jiggling on her right hand as I handed her the customary letter the following week.

The next Tuesday, she handed me two letters – the usual and the one I had given her. I could feel the shape of the bangles within as I held it in my hands staring at my own writing. There was something else; two lines across the top left corner and “Return to Sender” written in bold.



Thank you for the lovely entries. Read the selected ones here. Stay tuned for more contests and writing prompts.


Leave a Reply