Good Bye, Telegrams!

Sentiments defy logic and common sense and that is what makes them charming. Imagine if Shahjehan was a heartless ruler, this world would have been poorer by one wonder.

I am a sentimental old fool. That is why I stared with disbelief at the news that the postal department was closing the Telegram service. They cannot do that I thought with resentment never mind that I have not used that service for more than a decade and a half.

The young generation may not be aware of the prime position it held in our childhood days. Telegrams were like villains in a movie. They were not benign like a Mogambo or a Dr. Dang. I would liken it more to the blood chilling Hannibal Lecter of the ‘silence of the lambs’.
My mother’s hands would start trembling when the Postman announced that we have received a telegram. “ Now who?” My mother would worry. Most of the times people used a telegram only to inform about the death of a close relative.

But some telegrams were of the Shakti Kapoor variety too. I had a very absent minded uncle who would suddenly remember that he must inform the host of his imminent arrival. So he always sent a telegram instead of the customary Inland letter. Imagine our amusement when the telegram arrived while our uncle was freshly showered, sharing a warm and delightful lunch and regaling with his funny anecdotes. Uncle was family. So no one was embarrassed!

We realised the importance of telegrams in a student’s life only when we reached the college. Apart from the mandatory ‘ send money urgently’ , the students realised that the telegrams were more potent than any two pages long application for explaining the short attendance or reaching for the vivas ill prepared. A ‘ grandmother expired’ melted the heart of even the cruelest of professors.

But telegrams were not just the harbingers of bad news. Companies used it to inform the successful candidates of their selection bringing a lot of joy in the house.

Internet and the mobiles have made the postal services redundant ,at least in the urban areas. More than the telegrams, I miss the letters.

Written in long hand, they carried a warmth and affection which sadly is missing in the SMS and the emails. But I cannot underestimate the mobiles and the emails either. I cannot live without both of them.

Change is imminent and one should be smart enough to adapt. But you can do nothing about nostalgia. These days I hardly watch any movies.

Hell, I miss the mothers of the old era who were always ready with a plate full of Gajar ka Halwa, never mind what time of the day or night it was. “ Beta maine tere liye Gajar ka halwa banaya hai.” To hell with calories, Beta , hog it. Now even a twelve year old Tanmay is chided by his mother. “ No sweets. Mota ho jayega

But we have to accept it . The communications mosaic is changing. Each day the communications are getting faster. So it is only natural that Charles Darwin’s theory stand vindicated.

But as I said in the beginning, I am an old sentimental fool.

Good Bye Telegram. You will be missed.

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