Millennium Post

Curtains down: How India bade farewell to the telegram

Curtains came down on Sunday on the 163-year-old telegram service in the country — the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians — amid a last minute rush of people thronging telegraph offices to send souvenir messages to family and friends.

A large people, many of them youngsters and first-timers, turned up at four telegraph centres in Delhi and other cities, which have almost been forgotten in recent years to send a message to their loved ones on the last day of the service. Among them were housewives, college students, morning joggers in track suits, old timers and office goers lining up, taking time off on a holiday. Some children, accompanied by parents, also sent their life’s first and last telegram.

‘This is the first time I am sending a telegram. It is for my 96-year-old grandfather who lives in a village near Trichy,’ Anand Sathiyaseelan, a lawyer by profession, said. A manager in a real estate firm Vikas Arvind said he was sending greetings to his parents in Bareilly. ‘This I hope they will keep it as a memorabilia,’ Arvind said. ‘Hope all is well’ and ‘An iconic service comes to an end’ were among the messages sent on Sunday.

Once the fastest means of communication for millions of people, the end of the humble telegram service left behind a string of happy and bitter memories. The last telegram will be preserved as a museum piece.
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