Thursday, 13 June 2013

Ash immersion of TELEGRAM

As decided by the BSNL, July 15 will be the ash immersion day of the humble telegram service. The last mortal remains of this long dead service will be officially immersed in the brimming river of communication technology.
 Considered now as humble for being edged out by other fastest and cheapest modes of quick and urgent communication, it was at its prime in the decades of 60-70, when its arrival generally created havoc and dread in the heart of its receiver, apprehending some shocking sad news. Though it would be fairly unjust of me to speak of this service, the then popular mode of communication among those who wanted to send urgent messages, celebratory or otherwise, in such a way. However, I can't help recall those scenes in the Bollywood movies, in which the doorbell rings in the dead of night sending shivers to the peacefully sleeping residents. The panic button is pushed all the more with the postman announcing 'TELEGRAM, Sir'. With faltering steps and racing heartbeat, the person fumbles for the pen and reading glasses to receive that most unwanted and unexpected visitor at that ominous hour of night. His/her heart seems to be wrenched out by that clenching grip of unknown fear. Soaking in his/her sweat, the person signs with shaking hands in that handwriting that seems to be some encrypted code. Left with no choice, finally the message is read and... I don't want to draw the climax scene as the cinema-lovers are quite apt in figuring out what happens next.
 Well...such was not a scene always. There were anticlimaxes also, bringing smile and cheers to everybody's face. But, bad and sad memories last longer that sweet and fleet memories.
 So, here we are to bid adieu to this great time immemorial service TELEGRAM and immerse ourselves in the sweet and bitter nostalgia.
 Am I making a fuss of this relic? But, what do you make out of this postmortem of the relics by the Indian Telegraph Services? It is just like excavating the grave of the formidable practice "Better late than never" and we Indians, no doubt, are exceptionally good at it.
The Telegram service had virtually started showing its signs of ageing with the vast network of telephone services reaching every doorstep from the metro cities to smaller towns and then the rural areas. And, finally it breathed its last with the boom of mobile phone services, made cheaper to access every household irrespective of financial status. The BSNL is rather too late in waking up to the tech revolution in its late planning to deploy the telegraph staff members to mobile services, landline telephony and broadband services which ought to have been done long before.
The curtain yet to be drawn over the staging of this life-drama of Telegram Services is still 30 days ahead and one can never predict the end in our nation where a big political farce is made of small petty issues by our great political figures. Till then, let me bask in the nostalgia of TELEGRAM.

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