My father was posted as a sub-postmaster in 1978 in a village called Uppada in Andhra Pradesh. Postmasters were trained in telegraphy so that they could send and receive messages. As the post office and our quarters were located in the same building, I grew up listening to the telegraph machine. Playing with it for hours was my favourite pastime.
Telegrams needed to be delivered promptly. Temporary messengers were hired and paid 50 paise per telegram. At times, rarely though, my father utilised my services to deliver urgent messages. I used to anxiously wait for one particular express money order telegram from abroad meant for an elderly woman, always received during odd hours. She used to treat me with foreign toffees and biscuits whenever I delivered the message. Long live the telegram in people’s memory.
My marriage was arranged at a very short notice. As telephones were not common in those days, it was difficult to send out invitations on time. My wedding was announced quickly through telegrams to relatives in distant places. Thank you telegram, for reaching out to us with the latest news.