Thursday, February 2, 2012

A messenger of love for soldiers

A 26-year-old man makes it his hobby to collect letters of love from citizens and children and deliver them to the Indian soldiers posted at the borders.

To the uninitiated, this man may look like an ordinary postman. But he does much more than just collecting, sorting and distributing letters.

This 26-year-old man from Kalyan has an unusual passion: of collecting letters from citizens and delivering them to the Indian soldiers posted at the borders.

Avinash Patil had a dream of making it to the Indian Army, but he failed. However, that did not deter him from establishing a link with the military. And today, this man has found a special place in the soldiers' hearts.

"The song from film border, Sandesa Aate Hain made me think that if these soldiers are so moved by one letter from one family, how happy will they be if Indian citizens wrote to them! So I started this hobby three years back," says Avinash.

Every year, Avinash collects letters between January and August and compiles them into a book. So far, he has collected more than 1500 letters, which are now with the National Defence Academys libraray in Khadakvasla.

Avinash visits schools and collects letters from students. HE also spreads the message through word of mouth when he is invited to social functions.

"Indian soldiers are very happy when they receive these letters. They feel their own children are writing to them and some of them even reply to these letters," Avinash tells people whenever he gets a chance.

He says he has got tremendous reponse from students and senior citizens and will continue to do so. However, there is lot more that he needs to do.

"I also want to help raise funds for those families of soldiers, who haven't returned home," he explains.

Avinash is now waiting for the clearance for the final step of his job as a postman: delivering the letters to the forward posts in Kashmir. But before that happens, heres one from our side: "Dear Indian Soldier, We salute you for the sacrifice you make for our nation."

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