“163 YEAR OLD TELEGRAM SERVICE TO CLOSE FOREVER AT 9PM TODAY” as soon as my eyes scanned the title of this article in Times of India newspaper I was shocked. I read the entire article and at the end I felt very emotional. I informed everyone in my home about the news all of them were shocked and sad .For every Indian telegram was not just a means of communication, it was something that was a part of their family, a part of their heart. I might sound a bit dramatic but it is true as there are innumerable memories attached to the telegrams. That day we decided to dedicate the entire day to discussing about telegrams.
But before that all of us decided to bring out all the old telegrams that they had in possession. The largest collection was of course of my granny and granddad. They were the generation that basically communicated through telegrams as during those days there were no landline phones. My granny was the first one to begin the conversation she told that as granddad was in the Army, telegram was the only means of communication for them. Both of them exchanged some 1000 telegrams or so they said. The news about the birth of my Dad and my aunt were also send to granddad through telegrams only.
My granddad however told us a completely new side of the telegrams. He told us how telegrams were an important tool in the pre independence era. The revolutionist used to cut the telegram lines of the British offices so that they could bring the British communication system to a standstill. The news of our independence was also got to us through a telegram. This news was something that was completely new to me and my brother. Although we heard innumerable number of stories about the independence fight from our granddad this was completely new for us.
My Dad was the next to begin. Although by his time landline phones did come into picture they were very expensive and for conveying a small message it was not convenient. He told us how he received the news of his admission into collage through a telegram. He told us that two lines of the telegram meant a lot to him. My mom was not left behind she told that she got the news of her best friend’s wedding through a telegram. She told us had there not been the telegram she would never have the time to prepare for the wedding dance and her dress too. All of us laughed at this. But on a serious note it was something that was to be noted.
As for me and my brother all we remember about telegrams was an old uncle coming to our house to give the telegrams to our house. It was quite a few times he came but the impact he had on our home was massive. My mom told that the news of my birth was conveyed to her parents by a telegram only. All of us were feeling nostalgic that time. It was then it stuck to us that today was the last day that we could send a telegram and we had to rush to the telegram office to do so.
To our surprise the queue for sending the telegrams was a long one at the telegram office. Everyone were eager to send the telegrams they could in every possible way. We decided that dad, Shiva(my brother)and me would send a telegram each. When our turn came we filled the form.
My Dad’s message read ”Dear Telegram you are a part of my family I will miss you a lot Love Suresh,Lalitha”.(Suresh and Lalitha are the names of my parents)
My Brother’s message read ”Dear Telegram thank you for being the link between for my granddad and grany-Love Shiva ,Apparao, Gayathri”.(Shiva is the name of my brother,Apparao and Gayatri are the names of my grandparents)
When I had to write the message I thought a lot and wrote the following “Thank you telegram for linking the lakhs of families in India when there was no other means of communication. Thank you for all you have done to this country –Alvida dear Telegram-Lakshmi”.(Lakshmi is my name)
When I wrote down this message I felt a mix of emotions. I was happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of the telegram era. I was sad that it was ending.
All I did that day was only see the old telegrams and think of the wonderful memories the telegrams gave to my family. I informed my friends too about this news they too decided to send a telegram.
That day was a sad and happy day for each and every Indian. Everyone had only one thought in their mind ”Alvida dear telegram”