It’s funny how something can be there and never quite catch your attention. And just when it decides to say goodbye, you want it to stay some more. You scamper to save a memoir from the roads you’ve travelled earlier. You want to hold on for just a bit longer. And so it was when BSNL announced that they were retiring the 163 year old telegram service.
Yes, it made sense. Present day communication was at the click of a button. Yet, it was a part of my childhood fading into oblivion. Just like the Rotary Dialing phones, the telegram too would be something my daughter would have no clue about. It did not matter till now. But on the brink of extinction, anything can achieve the elusive status. And so armed with a camera and all good intentions, this afternoon, I headed to the Post and Telegraph Office in Santacruz West. The rains were playing truant and Bombay was on the brink of another regular flood. I knew it was now or never. Sneha’s post had further strengthened my resolve.
I found the quaint little post office nestled comfortably near a local school. The 3 staff members out there looked at me, almost expecting me. And then I figured why. I had a gentleman before me who had sent 3 telegrams. While I was still getting mine organized, an executive walked in and asked for a bunch of forms. He was sending about 20 telegrams to all his friends. Suddenly, everyone wanted to own this little piece of ‘soon to be yesterday’.
I got talking with the staff and told them that I was sending a telegram to my daughter. The lady in charge of giving me the receipts smiled, however, she wasn’t too floored by my handwriting. I felt like a school girl being asked to cross her t’s and dot her i’s. But she was sweet enough to let me take pictures.
The office was a typical government office. Spacious, yet congested with papers and files, and boasted of minimal facilities. The office had a board which listed the common greetings with their corresponding numbers. I read through the list, remembering how many of those telegrams we’d received, both in joy and sorrow.
I was done in about 20 minutes, super elated that I had made the effort. My telegram as I write this post is on it’s way and will be delivered tomorrow. What I have out here is my first and last visit to a Post and Telegraph Office, in monochromatic hues.
Going, going, gone. STOP.