It occurs after every Deepavali day. Throughout the year you would have forgotten the existence of one particular subspecies of homo sapiens, and even almost convinced that it has become extinct, you are rudely awakened from your delusion a day after the fest. The calling bell rings, you open the door and you are greeted with “Diwali Mubarak ho sir” and before you start wondering who these guys are you get enlightened: “Postman sir” they chorus, scratching their heads in unison. To show they are alive, kicking, and working, they will hand over a letter to you posted in Jurassic on paleolithic age, which informs you some relative is about to kick the bucket.. By the time you get the letter, the relative would have had seven rebirths. The postmen keep the letter reserved to hand it over to you after Diwali to make you open your purse strings and bid farewell to some money in the form of “baksheesh”. . Better cough up or even the one letter posted in the Jurassic or paleolithic won’t reach you. You pay up and they accept with a look of dissatisfaction, . Obviously it is not enough. It is never enough. Then comes the next request: Mithai? I tell them we are all diabetic LIE) and we don’t buy sweets. This elicits angry looks that say “Well we are not diabetics are we” and they leave shaking their heads. They obviously must be thinking: What if this guy is a diabetic, he must be getting gift hampers. Can’t he give us a share from it?” Sorry, guys my gift hamper days are over. I am on the top of the unpopularity charts of so many people that any gift hamper I get will have a time bomb ora live, angry poisonous snake. Poor mail deliverers. Can’t blame them for their rare appearances. The courier boys have taken over their jobs and postmen I fear is a subspecies on the road to extinction. Even if gift hampers don’t contain snakes or time bombs. they mostly tend to be sweets from your neighborhood halwais which are so bad that time bombs and snakes are way better. But some gift hampers are great. I used to work as the associate editor of a magazine run by an oil baron (cooking oil not petrol), The boss man was so generous that every Diwali he used to send hampers loaded with dry fruits, that lasted for the whole year. I now regret quitting the job. I have to pay from my pocket and through my nose for walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. But some gift hampers almost tempt you to bang your head against the wall. A friend of mine had an abiding hatred for tomato ketchup. That was obviously bad karma for which he was punished by a public sector food processing firm,, which he covered as a journalist. Just before the fest, the firm’s PR guys used to land up at his doorstep with a gift hamper which contained a jar of mixed fruit jam and A DOZEN BOTTLES OF THE WORST TOMATO KETCHUP in town A gourmet buddy to whom he passed on a couple of bottles of it commented that the ketchup lacked "Umami". I don't know whose Mami is that but I suspect that he was stating diplomatically that the ketchup tasted godawful. So tread carefully when it comes to Deepavali gift hampers and have a safe pollution-free festival.