After 162 years of service, the telegram took it’s last breath on July 14, 2013. The last telegram was sent to Rahul Gandhi. Such a waste! I would have been happy if it were sent to somebody like Dr. Abdul Kalam.
I never used a telegram but I read about it in one of the stories in my middle school English text book. A simple minded old man in a village receives a telegram. In good old days, the telegram used to be a harbinger of bad news. The old man will be scared to open it and he sits with the telegram in his hands in front of his house. The village folks gather around him and start speculating about the news in the telegram and scare the old man even more. Finally, one sensible guy suggests, ‘Why don’t you open the telegram?’ When the old man opens it he finds out it is some good news regarding his pension.
I did have the privilege to write inland letters in the later part of 90’s. I wrote to my cousin brother who was in the Navy. I received letters from him too. I was so excited when I received the letters. These letters are like a time capsule. They belong to completely different times. My younger self who wrote these letters must have been different from what I am now. Reading these letters will be like travelling back in a time machine.
I comprehended the power of letters from the novel, ‘Sense of an Ending’ written by Julian Barnes. This book is based on a letter written by the protagonist in his youth to his friend. He completely forgets about that caustic letter, until the consequences of the letter come to haunt him in his old age.
The era of telegrams and letters is replaced by e-mails. One click of the send button and the recipient reads it with almost a zero time lag. E-mails take away the excitement of waiting, feeling, smelling and seeing the information from a loved one in beautiful cursive writing.
Telegram & Inland letter
There are a lot of other things which have been replaced with the developments in latest technology. Shrill sounding landline phones are replaced by the touch screen mobile phones.
We moved from watching TV in bulky CRT TV’s to slim LCD TV’s.
The rectangular shaped thick video cassettes are replaced by blu-ray disc’s and cd’s. We listen to music online and on ipods and phones, gone are the days when we bought audio cassettes from stores.
Bajaj Chetak bikes, Ambassador car’s and Maruti 800 car’s are replaced by Mahindra, Yamaha and Hero Honda bikes and cars from different manufacturer’s like Hyundai, Honda, Tata, Mahindra, General Motors, Ford, Volkswagon, Fiat, Maruti etc. Even the iconic Premier Padmini taxi’s in Mumbai are being replaced by the latest ones.
I feel fortunate that I have seen the evolution in technology. Last 27 years has been a thrilling ride when it came to materialistic things. It makes me wonder how the technology curve of this generation will look like.
All images from google images