1 Minute view: Salute, the telegraph office staff

15 Jul,2013

So the last of the telegrams were sent out on Sunday evening. When the writer of this comment sent out a dozen-odd phonograms to kids in the family and those of some friends for them to keep a piece of history, he entered into an interesting conversation with the operator at Mumbai’s Central Telegraph Office near Churchgate.

 

She has been working for 35 years with the telegraph office, and while she isn’t too worried about her job as BSNL will absorb all staff in various functions, there was a moment of sadness. Though the writing was on the wall as the telegram had lost much of its utility over the years.

 

In fact, in the last 15-odd years, ever since telephone usage leapfrogged and emails entered our lives, one didn’t really feel the need for using the telegram. The last straw was of course text messaging which ensured that it would be curtains for the 160-year telegram service.

 

For generations, the telegram was the fastest mode of written communication for the lay person. Those in offices had access to telexes and teleprinters. It was often considered a harbinger of good and bad news. In fact, when the bearer of telegram would announce his (or her) arrival, many of us would greet him with a prayer on our lips. Lest the telegram would bring in news of someone’s passing or ill health…

 

Now that the telegram service has been put to rest, we thank all those who have rendered selfless service over the years. They have been at it through indifferent weather and law and order conditions and often at very odd hours.

 

Salute!

 

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