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Happy anniversary, a quarter century too late
- Telegram arrives from ‘Bombay’ to Park Street on time, reaches next door after 25 years

Calcutta, April 25: Mr and Mrs S.B. Palit: Best wishes for a long and happy married life.

Sent on February 22, 1978, from ‘Bombay’.

Received on February 23, 1978, at Park Street post

office.

Delivered on April 24, 2003, to Top Floor, 32 Jhowtala

Road, Park Circus, Calcutta 17.

Message in a bottle' Not quite. But it did take a telegram 25 years, two months and two days to reach Park Circus from Park Street post office.

By the time the greetings on the 20th marriage anniversary of ‘Mr and Mrs S.B. Palit’ reached on Thursday, 19 years had passed since the death of Subhobrata Palit. And the sender, elder brother P.K. Palit, died this January.

The telegram was received by Aniruddha Palit, son of the late Subhobrata and Sumitra, who is presently in Delhi. “A postman from the Circus Avenue post office delivered the telegram on Thursday afternoon,” said Aniruddha. He opened “the strange yellowish greetings envelope” and found that it had been sent more than 25 years ago by his uncle and his family from Mumbai.

“It was my parents’ 20th anniversary and my jethu, who always sent his greetings on every family occasion, despatched the telegram which also contained the names of my aunt Usha, cousins Bhaiya, Ishan and Tutu and Tutu’s husband Shankar,” says Aniruddha, who was 19 then, and is now a middle-aged professional.

To top it all, Aniruddha had to pay a price to the posts and telegraph department for the missive delivered 25 years too late. “While delivering the telegram, the postman demanded Rs 10 as dues, probably for the delay,” smiled Aniruddha, pointing to a ‘Rs 10’ scribbled on the envelope in red.

The telegram — with code OGM ATLX 1454 Bombay — showed a seal on the envelope confirming that it was received on February 23, 1978, at Park Street post office.

But efforts to trace the telegram in 25-year transit made little headway. The poser was pushed from one post and telegraph department to another, with no answers forthcoming. “Aamra bolte parbo na (We will not be able to say…,”) was the loudest common contention.

But back at Park Circus, the Palits aren’t really demanding an explanation. “It’s a very strange incident, but we will surely preserve it as a nice memory,” says Aniruddha, about the tale of the timeless telegram that will go down in the family lore.

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