Tuesday, 1 December 2015

fond memories

A Once-useful Device

‘Kattu, kada, kattu’
you no longer linger
amidst us
bemoan we your absence
you helped send
countless messages
business and personal
for more than a century and a half
thousands waiting patiently
in long queues sent messages
from the three metropolises
and bade you goodbye
for the last time
yester night
14 July 2013

‘Kattu kada kattu’
in your honour
we celebrated
‘a delayed  but
a thank-you ‘bogi’
as the ‘new’—SMS ‘n’ email
had already arrived
your dots and dashes
are now redundant and obsolete
now deemed ‘old’
your value lost, your utility gone
learnt we, yet, a new writing skill
stringing words meaningfully
but without grammar
interestingly enough
this your language
survives in SMS though

‘Kattu kada kattu’
you no longer throb
reach no more messages
touch no more
nooks and corners
your continued presence 
no longer viable
to your parent

‘Kattu kada kattu’
your voice now mute
at sending and receiving ends
no more  knock
noon or midnight
no more witness
to joy or shock
at door step
your name removed
from the office title

‘Kattut kada kattu’
you may be history
alongside of your kith and kin—
the gramophone
‘His Masters Voice’ records
the radio the transistor
the typewriter the roll films
the cassette tapes the VCRs
yet your service
not easily forgotten
yours a memory
not easily erasable

Adieu ‘Kattu Kada Kattu!’
Au revoir Telegraph!

Note:   ‘Bogi’ is a festival celebrated in Thamizh Nadu to thank the ‘old’ things for their services and bid farewell, and welcome the ‘new’ into their midst.

             Had my father been alive, he would’ve been most saddened for as a clerk and postmaster he had sent innumerable messages, and I had sat in his lap several evenings listening to the rhythmic sounds, mesmerising to me, as he clicked the instrument to life transcribing word messages into sounds and converting sounds into messages.
             I admire my father for being an understanding superior, relieving ‘younger’ clerks of their night duty at the telegraphic table and sending them home to be with their families.

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