This village near Hubballi has one-man messaging service | Hubballi News – Times of India

HUBBALLI: More than SMS and a phone call, Bidnal village near Hubballi trusts one mode of communication: Ashok Bheemappa Pujar, who delivers the message and follows up with reminders if needed, replete with personal courtesies. Should he be inviting someone to a wedding, for instance, he will insist they stay for lunch after blessing the couple.
Ashok, who is 62, has been the village messenger since 1976. He took up the job as a teenager after his ageing father found it difficult to go around the village. “People contact me when they have a housewarming, wedding, reception, birthday function or even tithi (death anniversary) and ask me to invite their guests. I visit their homes along with one of the family members a day before the function and inform them about the place and time. The morning of the function, I visit them again to remind them they should go,” says Ashok.
Besides inviting villagers to personal functions, he informs them of decisions taken by the village heads and about special pujas, local fairs and other events.“I don’t think even today, people trust messages through mobile or other communication modes. When I took over my father’s duties, there were less than 100 houses here. Now, there are nearly 2,000 families,” he adds.
“Those who have lived here a long time don’t distribute wedding cards to invite people,” says 84-year-old Malleshappa Hirur. “Ashok will be informed about the function and whom to invite and he takes care of it.”
“The messenger is paid by villagers according to their convenience,” says 82-year-old Siddappa Meti.

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Sagar Biswas

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