Pappu Patligali, our perennial hero, recently moved to India after spending years abroad working on various IT projects. Pappu studied in English-medium schools before completing his engineering degree from a state engineering college in Karnataka. In school, Pappu enjoyed reading novels written by Enid Blyton, but was not thrilled with studying English. He didn’t know why his teachers insisted that he study grammar from Wren & Martin, a book originally written for children of British officers in 1935 (during the reign of King George V) .
Pappu wrote in a very ornate style before moving abroad for higher studies. He soon learned how to write letters and emails in a more direct manner.
So, upon his return to India, he applied to join the local Housing Cooperative with the following letter:
My name is Pappu Patligali. I’ve recently moved into the neighborhood and I’d really like to join your Society as a full-time member. I’ve enclosed a completed application form along with all required fees. I’d really appreciate your help in expediting the process.
Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information. I look forward to meeting you in person!
Thanks in advance,
On submitting the letter, Pappu was told brusquely that he didn’t know how to write in English and that he needed to resubmit in triplicate with full particulars per the approved sample proforma letter. Of course, there was no use telling the Society’s members that the National Council of Educational Research and Training now publishes a textbook recommending that letters be written in a modern style. Pappu just ended up showing his NRI ignorance.
Ultimately, Pappu followed the prescribed proforma and sent the following letter in triplicate:
Respectfully, I beg to state that I am Pappu Patligali, son of Sri Jhappu Patligali currently domiciled in Nayaghat within PS- Kotwali in District Uttar Dinajpur under the jurisdiction of your esteemed Society. My permanent address is Village Rampur, of aforementioned District and police jurisdiction. It is hereby requested forthwith that I may please be enrolled as a Member of your Society under the provisions of Bye-laws and State Act of 1962 the Rules framed thereover and thereunder.
Therefore, I seek to humbly request herewith to deposit the prescribed amount as payment in cash the membership fee and the entrance fee today for which kindly money receipt from branch-office near Hanuman Mandir may please be issued on paper in my favour. Further, I am to forthwith state that I shall endeavour to solemnly and most faithfully abide by the rules and Bye-laws of the Society as Member of the Society with my firstborn forfeit and under pain of death (as per provisions articulated in Byelaw No. 221 Part C dated Jan 20, 1962). Moreover, sir, it is my heartiest and most humble entreaty to you to kindly and most generously look into the matter and do the most needful at your earliest convenience.
I remain, yours obediently,
Full signature of Pappu Patligali
(s/d attestation of first-class gazetted officer)
Needless to say Pappu’s letter is currently in a file under a stack of similar letters awaiting review by the Secretary of the Society.
Footnote: Although I’ve written both letters specifically for this post, I’ve been heavily influenced in the second letter by actual examples on the internet including this one. If you have time, take a look at question 17 of the 2009 UPSC General Ability Test which asks test-takers to look at the following sentence: “Respectfully I beg to state that I am suffering from fever for the past fortnight.”
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