David sat down with a thud, the phone receiver almost falling from his hands. His hands trembled so hard that he had to tuck them under his bums, his heart sank into the pit of his stomach. Sweat was now breaking into his forehead and slowly trickling down past the back of ears into the collar of his tee. Felicity looked in, she was sure something was wrong. She had never seen David so pale, she rushed and called Pedals. Both tried to get his attention but he waved them off, gruffly saying “Go home, I need some peace, see you in the morn”, both hesitated but then sensing he wanted privacy, kept a cup of hot chocolate and left.
How long had David sat in dim solitude he did not know, finally he got up and wearily closed the post office door and trudged home in the dark.
David was the head of the post office in Santa Clara a small town near Goa. He had grown here and joined the post office when he was a young lad. He knew the streets and houses of not just this town but of the 11 towns, the post office serviced like the back of his hand. At one time he had a staff of 8, and the Santa Carla Post Office or Santa’s Post for short was thriving and he ruled, delivering messages, packages, telegrams, letters, cards with urgency and excitement.
But technology had taken over, emails and online cards had eaten into his world and now he had a handful of deliveries each day. And today, just before Christmas his boss Mr. Naik from Mumbai had called to say that they were closing over 100 post offices across India, and Santa’s Post was to go too.
David, tears running down his cheek, furiously cycled home and the cool December breeze dried them off. He thought of Monica, his wife, and all he wanted to do was hold her tight and bury his face in her lap. Monica was a true Goan fighter girl, spirited, smiling and always busy rushing around humming a cheerful tune. She used to manage a guest house near the post office and adjacent to the 400-year-old church. The “Church of Nativity” was very popular not just in Goa but the world over. It was built over a cave and emulated the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, and was sacred not only the Christians but most sects. During Christmas, it was buzzing and festive with crib and nativity hopping, star-making competitions, enchanting displays, carol singing, candlelight dinners, music programs, and plays.
The guest house was full, merry travelers were enjoying the festivities and Monica was hustling around managing a hundred different chores. She was supervising the fairy lights that were being wound around the majestic trees in the garden when David walked to her. Busy instructing the lights-man she started to tell him about the plans for the Christmas Eve midnight mass and dinner. They were planning to play retro music, old waltz melodies, shimmy beats of local Konkani tap beating numbers and of course the carols! After her chatter went on for some time without David’s customary guffaw or yeah-yeah-yeah comment, she turned and looked at him closely.
His tear stained face sent a shiver down her spine.
She swung and hugged him, “what happened, honey,” she asked softly.
Out came the angst of Santa’s Post being closed and that the Lord had shut the doors on him. She listened in silence, she could feel the heart-wrenching pain that David felt, and after a long time of silently holding hands, she pulled the packet of letters from Davids bag, a handful of letters addressed to God.
Most letters, addressed to Santa found their way to Santa Clara, and the good-hearted David replied to the letters. This time in his fit of rage, he had got the letters home to dump them in the canal. Monica took them away and late at night when David slept, meticulously replied to all.
The children must hear back from Santa for sure!
Next day, Monica went about her work at the guest house. She was tired from writing the letters, and sad because David was sad.
To cover the events of the Christmas at the Church of Nativity, this year the New York post had sent Mr. Kelly, who liked to sit in the portico of the guest house and type out his blogs. He looked at her again and was curious to know why Monica’s magical smile was missing. As he asked her gently, she found a sympathetic heart and poured the story … the post office, the closure, the Santa letters, the years of tradition and the new technology that had made it all redundant!
As the sniffles died down, Monica profusely apologized for her outburst and rushed off to the kitchen.
After a pensive long silence, Mr. Kelly began to furiously type out his new blog with pictures of all the letters on the table, of David and Monica’s heartbreak and the magic that they created as they replied to all the children’s letters to Santa!
He appealed to all to flood the mailboxes with letters to save the Santa Clara Post Office!
24 hours later, all hell broke loose, David stood on the railway station to pick his letters and to his amazement and shock, the guard threw 3 sack full of letters!
David, Monica, Felicity and Pedals put out the cards in strings all around the post office inside and outside! The local news heard of the scoop and rushed to cover it in their evening news. Tourists began to trudge to the post office to take pictures. Monica’s guesthouse began serving scrumptious Christmas platters, baked ham, traditional turkey, roast duck, barbecued freshly caught red snapper, caramel pudding and more!
On Christmas Eve, David and Monica dressed in their formal best and as he rechecked his bowtie, the phone rang. Mr. Naik was excitedly congratulating David, with all the media attention, they had had a miracle and the post office wasn’t going down!
Meanwhile, the fireworks had started and the church bells were pealing… David held Monica’s hand and they looked at the brightly lit sky and smiled!
The Church of Nativity had heard their prayers, and granted them a new life!
Truly it was a Christmas Miracle!