Posted by: cochinblogger | April 15, 2015

A Leave Letter for Love

Wonderful things sometimes happen when Indians write in English. Here is an outstanding example from the early twentieth century, a classic in the genre.


Most Honoured and Respected Sir,

I have the honour to humbly and urgently require your Honour’s to relieve me of my onerous duties at Londiani so as to enable me to visit the land of my nativity, to wit, India forsooth.

This in order that I may take unto wife a damsel of many charms who has long been cherished in the heart-beats of my soul. She is of superfluous beauty and enamoured of the thought of becoming my wife. Said beauteous damsel has long been goal of my manly breast, and now am fearful of other miscreant deposing me from her loftly affections. Delay in consummation may be ruination most damnable to romance of both damsel and your humble servant.

I love this sentence, which gets to the heart of the matter (pun unintended):

It is dead loneliness here without this charmer to solace my empty heart.

The full letter is here: The Love-Struck Railway Man

Before I close, one clarification. You may be wondering what genre I was referring to my my opening sentence. Why, railway letter writing by us Indians, of course. It’s a veritable genre. You don’t believe me? Here, digest this: How Indian Trains Got Their Toilets

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