People bid adieu as Telegram services shut shop

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Bangalore, July 15:The staggering statistics of the 160 year old Telegraph office saw a sudden shot in revenues on Monday, the last day of the telegram legacy in India. People flocked the telegraph section of the BSNL building on Cubbon Road, Bangalore to acquire the last piece of memory of the age old trend that their forefathers have been adopting.

Interestingly, about 1,228 telegrams were dispatched, while 160 phonograms wired; a stark contrast to the 100 odd telegrams that were wired everyday in the past few decades.

"This was the case ever since the mobile and the wireless era came into being," said one of the officials here. 30 years ago, this very technology was the king in India, but now it projects a sorry state with a loss accounted for $250 million (in last seven years) as national cellphone subscriptions hit 867 million in April.

Once a harbinger of good or bad news in a family, the Telegram is now just an official means to inform recipients of top civilian awards and for court notices. India's armed forces recognize telegrams from troops extending their vacation or from soldiers' families demanding their presence at home for a funeral. Lawyers still send telegrams to create an official record, for example, to prove to a judge that they had complained their client was subjected to police abuse.

In New Delhi

People sending telegrams in New Delhi on the last day of service on Sunday late night. The 163-year old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians- ends.

In New Delhi

People sending telegrams in New Delhi on the last day of service on Sunday late night. The 163-year old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians- ends.

In Bengaluru

Customers queue up to send telegram to their friends and relatives on the last day 163-yr-old telegram service, in Bengaluru on Sunday.

In Mumbai

oungsters wait in a queue to send telegrams at the Central Telegraph Office in Mumbai on the last day the 163-yr-old telegram service on Sunday.

In New Delhi

People sending telegrams in New Delhi on the last day of service on Sunday. The 163-year old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians - ends on Sunday.

In New Delhi

People sending telegrams in New Delhi on the last day of service on Sunday. The 163-year old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians - ends on Sunday.

In Kolkata

People wait to send telegrams in Kolkata on the last day of the service on Sunday. The 163-year old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians - ends on Sunday.

In Kolkata

Telegram equipments at a post office in Kolkata on Friday. The 160 year-old Telegram service is to be closed on 15th July.

In New Delhi

The 163-year old telegram service in the country - the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians - ends, in New Delhi on Sunday.

In Kolkata

Employees at work Telegram service unit at a post office in Kolkata on Friday. The 160 year-old Telegram service is to be closed on 15th July.

In Mumbai

An official showing an old double sounder telegraph board at Central Telegraph Office in Mumbai on Friday. The 160-year old telegram services in the country are to be discontinued from July 15 , 2013.

In Mumbai

A woman official showing a stamp at Central Telegraph Office in Mumbai on Friday. The 160-year old telegram services in the country are to be discontinued from July 15 , 2013.

People, however, think otherwise. Savitha N, one of the people queueing up in the office for the last time, says, " Telegraph is still the king of our hearts. Many fond memories are attached to it as I saw my grandfather sending morse coded messages to his native place and how I accompanied him. I have come here to send one last message to the Telegraph authorities, thanking them for their services till date."

As the officers here stamp the messages with a heavy heart, they have accepted the changing times. One says,"the office would close with innumerable memories of good and bad news. It has seen the changing times in the country and has received the reactions of common man. Too bad, it could not survive the times, but 'change' is the only constant and we have to accept that."

The legacy has come to an end now, as even the Government and the armed forces have found other faster means to deliver messages. All that remains are memories of the era that the Telegram has seen, a lost history and the messages it has been sending for times on now. Goodbye!

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