Telegram used to be a both very important and dreaded word in out communities as late as 80s. With increasing availability of telephone, early 90s probably first saw a decline in telegram usage in BD . Sickness, death news as well as important binding business documents used to be transmitted via telegram. Somebody is sick used to mean he or she has already died.
Probably there was a similar scenerio in USA too. Western Union used to be the provider of telegraph service in USA starting from the early decades of this century.
The era of the telegram, an icon of communication dating back 150 years, came to a quiet end last week. Western Union says it delivered its final telegram on Friday.
In truth, the telegram long ago succumbed to long distance telephones, faxes, e-mail and instant messaging. Even deliverers who sang them couldn’t save telegrams from the dustbin of history. The fact that one final telegram was sent last Friday is a tribute not to the telegram’s endurance, but to the glacial tediousness of extinction itself.
What will we remember of the telegram? Probably the prose style the economic of telegraphy engendered. Punctuation cost extra, so the word STOP substituted for a period. Otherwise, it was brevity in the extreme — pronouns, verbs omitted.
It was probably early 80s I had to use telegraph service in Dhaka. Bangladesh telegrapg and telephone board still has this service. Sending a telex in USA will cost you Taka 70/minute. I don’t know in this age of e mail, fax, mobile phones is there anybody left to use the telegram service anymore.