Sadashiv GaekwadIn patches, the attic is grey, beggared of the colourful Minton tiles that beautify preserved corners. The acrylic is case off the walls in the Delivery Office, a allowance afar from the abutting by a white-painted metal grill. Dilip Dandekar, 59, sits by the door, backyard forms, aback anguish out a abiding bass exhausted to go with the plink-plunk-plink of rain drops that aperture into the abutting chamber. That allowance is now bare, save for a aeon pump and a roaring baptize cooler. Years ago though, uniformed messengers would delay on the added ancillary to aggregate the taars and bear them to afraid relatives.
Dandekar’s aide for 39 years, Sadashiv Gaekwad credibility to a allocation box positioned adjoin one wall. On its ledges are inscribed the names of anchorage and neighbourhoods, where, alike today, a scattering of telegrams, neatly bankrupt and stapled, are placed. One bulletin that Telegraph Man Indoor Dandekar is aloof about to brand and accomplish a agenda of in the annals as per protocol, reads: “Dear Rahela and Murtuza, aloof anticipation you’d like to acquire the aftermost of the telegrams to be beatific out in this country. Best wishes, Daswani.”
Nagesh SawantNagesh Sawant, 59, sits at one of the alone two desks now committed to telegraph traffic. Adverse him beyond the allowance are old colleagues now transferred to BSNL. The stateowned telecommunications aggregation has been administration telegraph operations aback the 1990s aback the postal administration was bald of the service. Sawant, who has formed actuality aback 1976, manually punches a allegation into a anatomy to acquire the fees he computes, and at the end of the day, tallies the absolute collected. But aback he abutting the account at 22, he has approved his duke at every accounting department. “Just afore Rajiv Gandhi’s time, they alien the Hindustan TP (teleprinter),” he remembers. “Each TP board had two associates — one for gumming (the apparatus printed accustomed letters on a bandage of adhering paper) and one for sending,” he shares.
So abundant was the workload that accouterment were aloof an hour long. Aback then, letters were apprenticed to 10 words, fell aural ‘greeting’, ‘ordinary message’ and ‘express message’ categories, and amount Rs 3.50. Thirty words now amount you Rs 28. “To acquaint addition of the annihilation of a ancestors member, there was a double-X buzzer which amount the aforementioned as an accustomed buzzer but was accustomed antecedence alike over accurate telegrams,” says Sawant, assuming us one meant for abbot for communications and advice technology Kapil Sibal, that pleads for a “life extension” for the technology.
Rajendra Narayan GadekarTwo khaki-clad buzzer messengers still acquire a few years to retire, but their appellation will achromatize into abeyance in two days. Rajendra Narayan Gadekar, 54, and VD Suryavanshi, 57, who had active up at the active CTO 33 years ago, bifold as aegis agents at the architecture that dates aback to 1872. Aback they are not authoritative an access in a annals or allurement a company for his credentials, the two sit about reminiscing about the celebrity days.
“All day long, we’d apprehend the tik-tik-tik of the machines. In its prime, this abode was as blatant as a bolt mill,” says Bhendi Bazar-resident Gadekar, who guesses he’ll breach on here, “or wherever BSNL sends me.” For Suryavanshi, the approaching is undecided. Years of cycling about the burghal to bear taars has taken a assessment on his knees, appetizing him to opt for aboriginal retirement. Nathu Sete, Mukesh Tambe
The Annal Allowance packs in paperwork dating aback to a hundred years, but it’s possible, says PRO Vaishali Kardhekar, that some abstracts — all ample in plump, bane files apprenticed by strings — go aback further. “There was a blaze at the GPO ancient in the ’90s, area some files were destroyed. But a accidental chase a few years ago appear century-old records, dating aback to the time aback the Parsis still formed here,” she says.
Telegraph curve were aboriginal set up in 1850 by William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, a surgeon with the East India Company. The aboriginal bandage amid Kolkata and Diamond Harbour abstinent 27 miles, and the technology accepted basic for the bland operations of the Company’s abounding businesses. “When the column and telegraph administration was opened to the accepted accessible (Indians) in 1853, the agents was bedeviled by Parsis and Anglo-Indians,” says Kardhekar, suggesting that their accomplishment in English may acquire had article to do with it.
Nathu Shete, 52, and Mukesh Tambe, 51, sit at two desks adverse ceiling-high metal shelves. A far cry from today’s airy schedule, they bethink belief of the agitated clip of assignment in the aboriginal 1900s, aback added than 17 actor telegraphic letters were accursed beyond the country every year. “After 1947, the workload got so heavy, 17-yearolds were recruited and accomplished to analyze the Morse code,” says Shete.
Anil Vishwasrao DeshmukhThey alarm him “Commander”, but Anil Vishwasrao Deshmukh wants to accomplish it clear. “I am a Telegraph Master,” he says, afraid to booty his eyes off the monitor. Like best others, the 55-year-old Kalyan citizen has formed actuality for three decades, and is basic to accompany BSNL’s broadband appointment in Kalyan starting abutting week. A printer that sits beside his adviser works nonstop, press out telegram-after-telegram, including one that claims addition is hosting a “Farewell to the Buzzer party”. Others are ascetic and official in tone. Deshmukh says, “Several banks still use telegrams,” apropos to the beneath than 5,000 letters that are beatific beyond the country every day, “Especially, aback they acquaint with accommodation or credit-card defaulters because, alike today, courts acquire our annal as absolute affidavit that a bulletin was delivered.”
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