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Last telegrams go out for loved ones

July 14, 2013 20:44 IST

Last telegrams go out for loved ones

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Thousands of people, many of them first timers, turned up at telegraph centres which had almost been forgotten in recent years to send a message to their loved ones during the last week of the 160-year-old telegram service.

"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.

Sathiyaseelan's grandfather Karuppiah resides in Vadamalaipatti village near Trichy and still has with him a copy of most of the telegrams that he had received during his lifetime.

"I remember to have sent my first telegram in 1934 from Ceylon to my parents in the same village. That time people heavily relied on telegrams. I am very sad to see end of this service which served as an important means of instant communication. At that time there were no phones," Karuppiah said on phone.

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Image: A person fills out his last telegram at a telegraph centre in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Last telegrams go out for loved ones

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A manager in a real estate firm Vikas Arvind said he was sending greetings to his parents in Bareily.

"This I hope they will keep it as a memoir as well," Arvind said.

Talking about interest of people, Chief Telegraph Master at Centre Telegraph Office, R D Ram said, "From July 8, we have seen general public turning up. Till Saturday, 3,402 telegrams were booked by CTO with 1,326 booking alone done on Friday. Till afternoon we have had around 400 bookings."

"The telegram is very important. Mobile networks do not work at many places and there are no landlines there either. So, telegrams work in those places. The telegram is 160-years-old and has been in operation ever since the time of the British rule. People need to give copies in court, give permission to anybody, to grant leave or for marriage or death intimation. It will be a problem now for the public. This is for the service of the public and even if there was no profit the department was working on no-profit and no-loss," said Rohtash Verma, telegraph department employee.

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Image: A person fills out his last telegram at a telegraph centre in Delhi
Photographs: Reuters

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In the recent years, the main telegram senders were limited mainly to government organisations, except for a few people who remained faithfully associated with the age-old services.

But now, people from all walks of life have been pouring into the telegram office to keep their own slice of history by sending their last telegram to keep as mementos.

"We just got the news that it is going to be closed. So we just feel that something which you had be knowing and maybe even if you were not using you knew was there and it was there if you needed it and you can use it whenever you require it. But, technology is advancing now," said Sangeeta Pasi, a customer who had come to send her last telegrams.

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Photographs: Reuters

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