Monday, July 15, 2013

Goodbye Telegram

“तार इस  मतलब का आया है  मुझे भोपाल से
रात भर भैंसे की दुम  हिलती  रही भूचाल से .........”

This was  a frivolous piece of poetry  quoted by  a very well known  Hindi author in one of his books , which shows how  sending  Taar  or telegram was in vogue  in matters important and mundane alike  some decades back. 

From    today, i.e.  15th July, 2013  it is good bye  to Telegrams , as the   Govt . in   their  wisdom   have discontinued  this - one time very  important   , but now rendered  obsolete  as also   commercially  nonviable – service thanks to other cheaper and  quicker means of instant communication and transmission   like mobile phones  and  internet    etc. There is hardly person , who has grown up with me through the fifties , and  has not  felt the importance of  telegrams  in day to day life. Little wonder that the last day of   this service saw  a sizable number of people  at many places  rushing  to the post offices and telegraph offices  to send  welfare  messages  to relatives and near and dear ones , not only to  avail the service  for the last time but also  to be able to keep the specimen of a telegram   as a memento or an  important  relic of the past    for the posterity. Some people  were also seen taking along  their kids  to show    and apprise them of the system  of sending telegrams. 

Telegram has been rightly called the harbinger  of both good and bad   news , mostly- I am afraid- bad news . The mere arrival of a  messenger or the delivery man would   cause goose bumps in everyone in the neighbourhood  ; it is another matter  that sometimes the telegram carried good news of a  birth in the family or in relation , a promotion, an appointment to a service of one of the relatives  , and last but not the least   safe arrival of  a dear one  at the destination after a long journey. I  have seen   people rushing to an English knowing  person to read out the telegram when education was not so common.

 It is also true that   sometimes loud cries and wails  were heard   when the telegram carried    sad and shocking news of an  accident or a death . Once  I had  to rush to the  post office to send a congratulatory  Greeting message to an acquaintance  who was getting married, leaving  aside my personal bereavement. Telegram also came handy  when due to some unavoidable and compelling reasons, extension of leave was sought  by sending a  telegram . However one had to keep  the receipt  safe     in token  of having sent it ताकि  सनद रहे और   बरवक़्त  ज़रूरत  काम आवे !

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