Saturday, December 24, 2016

It's a Bus, It's a Train, It's a Railway-Man

“Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year.”- Thomas Mann
Time simply flies. Minutes to hours, hours to days, days to years. Years to 5 years. 5 years into the world of a legacy enriched for hundred of years diligently by people now no more, world of rolling wheels and cruising metals, world of rails, tracks and bridges, world of Indian Railways.
 These 5 years also gave me an opportunity to visit several places across India. Opportunity to interact with several wonderful people and make long lasting relationships.
 I learnt about a species of superhero called Railway-Man whose single pursuit is to keep the wheel rolling and the giant moving. Whose muscles are not of steel, like Super-Man, but his thoughts are. Who doesn’t weaves a web of silk, like Spider-Man, but brilliantly weaves a web of railway tracks. And unlike all superheroes he wears his underwear correctly. 
He can battle it out equanimously under a scorching sun or a shivering cold night or a thunderstorm. Like every superhero his personal concerns take a backseat when there is an emergent call to duty. After a cyclone or an earthquake he watches first for others well being and the train’s safety than his and his family. The first call he makes is to ensure if everything and every train is safe in the section and then to his family. When needed he works relentlessly under demanding situations- the tougher an environment the better his skills. Time and again he complains of better working conditions, of better facilities and this is what sets him apart from other superheroes. He shows he is human yet can exemplify superhuman capacity under all situations. The next time you sleep peacefully inside a train, trust that there are several such superheroes  from the engine driver to the controller at station to the one at tracks out there to help you reach your destination.
image credit:

A site work of Railway yard for laying new turnout

On a lighter note, he is considered the Godfather of railway tickets among his friends and family . A quarter of his annual income goes into securing berths for lesser mortals who could not manage to login to IRCTC website during tough times-read tatkal hours. As a champion of travelling souls he becomes the last minute hope of a confirmed ticket. He is expected to possess a wand and a magical charm through which he could get a waitlisted ticket into fully confirmed berth anytime any day across anywhere. A powerful vision he has, people expect him to foretell their future- whether a waitlisted WL24 seat on 18th of next month will get confirmed or not.  A  Railway-Man sitting thousand of miles away is humanly expected to know whether the Yeracud express will arrive at Tiruvallur station at right time or not.(How?Tell me how!!?) Like Spider-Man he too possesses a sixth sense. His sixth sense is always awake in the form of an ever ringing mobile phone. Just  a ring and a brief “Halo...halo” can recharge him in minutes even from a deep sleep. So intense is his affection towards the phone that when it does not rings for an hour, he by default checks the miscall status.

Coming back to my experience I don’t consider it an accomplishment for having honourably survived these 5 years. Someway somehow it ought to happen. As long as you keep on moving on a straight road the destinations don’t count into your achievements. Nor can I boast of my actions giving due direction to this rolling world. Like time this legacy does not wait for anyone nor it is enslaved of anyone's endeavour. It sets its own ambitions and knows how to surpass them. This legacy worships motion, faster the better. Day in and day out it is propelled not by the brilliance of one or two minds but by its own sheer momentum gained over a period of 160 years. Like time it moves ahead at its own pace. We who are part of it are just fleeting characters in its ever expanding saga. Howsoever extraordinary we may consider ourselves, as the story unfolds we realise that the roles of our characters are limited. 5 year is a long time,in a short span of life, but I never considered my actions shaping this organisation’s story. If it were not me, it would be someone else playing the character.  Like time it will carry me ahead whether I make an effort or not.
These 5 years of association though gave a mixed feeling. To be honest, at times I considered it as my biggest achievement and biggest mistake of life so far. Don’t know why. But may be as in life our perspective changes with our circumstances so does it in an organisation. Being human I think one can afford these two point of views. I may or may not be a part of its journey in the next 5, 15 or 30 years. It doesn’t matter who comes and who goes. All what matters is that the wheel should roll and the giant should move.


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