Having recently shifted our residence to a new neighbourhood, I had wanted to quickly regularise my family’s identity documents with our new address. The Aadhaar card was the first step in this direction. Fortunately, it was possible to upload the new address proof and make the application for our family of four online. The revised card with the new address was to follow through the post.
The first installment of two new cards arrived duly within the first fortnight. We were still awaiting the other two cards. After a month of waiting, I was beginning to get a bit edgy when suddenly one evening I got a call on my mobile phone from a stranger who announced that my Aadhaar card was lying with him and if I wanted, I could come over and pick it up. With that, the line got disconnected. I was a bit shaken, to say the least, but quickly regained my composure and called back the number.
The line was not clear but I managed to get the address from where he was calling. Intrigued but equally anxious to retrieve my Aadhaar card, I left home immediately to find the given address which, as it turned out, was only a ten-minute walk a few streets away from our new home.
After some difficulty identifying the confusing house numbers, I reached the desired spot and to be sure I had the right address, I called the number again. A man emerged from the small security room at the entrance to the building. On a ledge outside the room was a pile of undelivered mail containing letters, bank statements, sundry bills and even undelivered copies of the Readers’ Digest.
Right on top of the pile was the familiar Aadhaar envelope. On enquiring how my card had land up there, the watchman blurted out that a postman had left the pile of mail outside his door saying that he was in a hurry and would come back again the following day and pick up the pile. That was five or six days ago.
The alert watchman, noticing the mobile number below the Aadhaar address had called my number. I profusely thanked our Good Samaritan for his presence of mind and clutching my Aadhaar card, now safely tucked away in my breast pocket, I returned home.
Was that to be the end of this little episode? My conscience shot back a firm ‘no. The following day’, I sought out the postmaster in our area post office and recounted the incident to him. He thanked me for bringing it to his notice and immediately summoned one of his assistants. He requested me to accompany this gentleman and show him the place where the other undelivered mail was still lying and promised to take disciplinary action against the errant postman.
Satisfied that the undelivered mail was now in the right hands, I walked back home hoping for that unexpected phone call from yet another Good Samaritan. After all, the fate of the fourth Aadhaar card still hung in balance as was its vulnerability in the wrong hands.