Mangalore, July 15: The otherwise gloomy telegraph counter at the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) office in Pandeshwar was buzzing with activities on Sunday. People waited in long queues to send the first ever or the last telegram of their lifetime, as the telegraph system ceased to function and became a part of the history on Sunday evening.
The excitement was very much visible on the faces of the people who were sending telegrams after waiting in queues and on the faces of the BSNL employees who were put into telegraphy service, despite the day being a week end. The telegrams sent on the last day were all filled with messages of love, wishes on special occasions, souvenir and the like. If, for the middle aged and elderly, sending the last telegram was an emotional matter, for the youngsters who were sending telegrams for the first time, it was a matter of pride to be a part of history.
An environmentalist and philatelist Dr Surya Addoor said it was an emotional moment to see telegraph system ceasing to function as he grew up with telegraphy. “I began sending telegrams as a high school student in 1975 and then developed it as a hobby. Though, mobile phones and internet has invaded my life, I was a habitual telegraphy user. I used to send wishes to my friends and family on various occasions via telegraphy. I might have sent over 500 telegrams in my lifetime and I will miss telegraphy,” he said. Dr Addoor has sent 45 telegrams in the last two days and has preserved all the receipts as souvenir. He has clicked the photographs of the telegraphy office and the system to show it to his children when they grow up.
City based bank employee Mallikarjuna who too is a habitual telegram user, sent his last telegram to his wife conveying the wedding anniversary wishes in advance.
Ashitha S N M, a post graduate student in Mysore, was sending a telegram for the very first and the last time, on Sunday. “It is exciting,” she chuckled. She decided to send telegrams upon reading the news about closing down of the telegraphy system and after she was impressed about hearing telegram related stories from her mother. “I am writing it to my parents for making my vacations really wonderful here in Mangalore,” she said.
Over 110 telegrams were sent on the last day and a person even sent a telegram to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. Senior Telegraph Master Jagadish who was busy receiving applications, quipped, “Had all these people who are standing in the queue now, used telegraphy during their day-to-day life, telegraphy system would not have stopped functioning.”