From telegram to e-mail, how India Post managed to remain relevant

Even though the telegram service was at its peak in the mid-80s, it somehow failed to serve its purpose of reaching people quickly. | Image - Eunice Dhivya | All photos by Prabhu Mallikarjunan

It was September 23, 1990.  In the wee hours of a Sunday morning, my grandfather R Margan (Margabandu), an octogenarian, fell off the verandah at his home in Rattinamangalam village Tamil Nadu’s Arani taluk. Soon after, he somehow felt his days were numbered.

Back then, there were no telephones in the village. But he had to send out a message to all his daughters and sons living in different cities.

The small room next to the verandah that he had rented out to the village post office for nearly two decades came as no help. One, it was a Sunday. Moreover, the Department of Telegraph was carved out as a separate wing from the Department of Posts in 1985. So, one had to approach the telegraph department to send telegrams and this office was located 3 km from the village.

With the help of a fellow villager, he sent out a message from the town office. As he felt odd to send the message himself, he asked his wife to be the signatory.

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