For 14-year-old Shashank Sistla, Sunday was a memorable day in that he sent the first telegram of his life on the last day of service. It was to his cousin.
“I wished him well and also reminded him that the telegram was being sent on the last day of the service,” said the boy who was with his mother at the Central Telegraph Office (CTO), Coimbatore, to be a part of history. His mother Lalitha Sistla also sent a telegram.
It was to her father-in-law to wish him on his birthday.
“The joy of wishing my father-in-law is doubled because of conveying the message through a telegram,” said the Bharathi Colony resident. She had taken her son to the CTO so that they were witness to the historic event of the Central Government stopping the telegram services by July 15.
In her lifetime she had received several telegrams but Sunday was one of the very few occasions she had sent one, she said.
Roy Wilson Armstrong, a medical practitioner, was also there at the CTO. As an avid philatelist, he wanted to send telegrams to his family so that he could collect the same to retain them as souvenir. “It will add value to my collection.”
In his 43 years, he had sent telegrams to friends to wish them on their wedding and as part of the profession to send messages to courts. “It had become a part of me.”
Around 170 persons sent telegrams to near and dear ones to commemorate the last day of service. An officer at the CTO said that on an average 40 – 50 telegrams were sent from the CTO.
And when political parties stage agitations and then the number of telegrams sent goes up to 700 – 800 a day.
The officer added that they no longer sent telegrams using Morse Code. The office had given them specialised software, which, the staff used to transmit messages to the receiving office. The officials there received the messages, printed them and delivered the same using postmen.
She added that the delivery of telegram would continue for the next ..-.. -.. .- .. .. … (two days).