India discontinuing 163-year-old telegram service

(CNN) -- Thousands across India have rushed to telegram offices to mark the end of the 163-year-old service. It was once a vital form of communication, but the telegram's popularity has dramatically declined and that has resulted in millions of dollars in losses.

India will send its last telegram on July 14th.

56-year-old Om Dutt cycles from one part of Delhi to another, delivering telegrams.

"Telegrams are a great way to communicate. Everybody can send one, whether he's illiterate or literate, rich or poor," Dutt said.

Dutt works as a messenger for the 163-year-old Indian telegraph service, which is now winding up forever.

R.K. Goyal explains how he used to translate sounds into words, using the Morse code.

"Every letter had a different sound. We had to decode those sounds so concentration was very important," Goyal said.

Goyal joined the telegraph service 39 years ago.

"In those days this was a very respected job. People would even leave their jobs at banks to join the telegraph services," Goyal said.

Goyal says he was proud to be the messenger of important events.

"In villages people would wait anxiously, wondering what news each telegram brings. Happy news, sad news, if someone's had a son, if someone has died, the price of vegetables," Goyal said.

In its heyday, in the 1980s, tens of thousands of employees used to type away on 24-hour shifts, sending and receiving some 600,000 telegrams a day.

However, since the arrival of mobile phones and email, demand has dwindled. Many of the telegrams today are citizen complaints over the decision to end the telegraph services.

Authorities say with more than $20 million in losses every year, it's not financially viable.

In its last few days, the wistful continued to stream in.

Rosalyn Dmello has never sent a telegram before, but as she completed the last chapter of her first novel, she marked the occasion by submitting it as a telegram.

"The very fact that you have to put each word in a column, that you have to have a sense of economy about the words that you are sending, and obviously because you're paying for each word, there is a sense of value each word has, there is a certain weight that it then carries," Dmello said.