Live and Express

Live and Express

The Grand Indian Railways

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It was 4:30 AM, and I had just got out of Guwahati Express at Arakkonam junction. The driver of the train was waving the green lantern signal to the guard signalling that the train is ready to depart and sounded the 10 second horn. This started a series of thoughts in my mind.

I wondered if we ever thought about that driver, or the guard or the support staff on the lines, at the station, at the manned level crossings and the control rooms which enable the train to run smoothly, while we sleep like babies. In fact we don’t. This is a regular scene for us – trains coming in the station, we getting out in a hurry carrying the luggage and look forward for the next connection or meet the person who is waiting for us, or just lay off for a while before we go home. We take for granted the things that enable us.

We restlessly pace in the compartment and curse the staff when our train get delayed by 15 minutes. But do we thank the great job they do every time when the train reaches on time? Yes, they do it for a salary, but they do it with dutifulness…

These small acts of importance – like waving of a flag, or manually adjusting the track lever so that the train moves to the right track, or switching the right switch in the control room…These acts affect us – the lives of so many who travel in the trains. If they don’t do that properly, our lives are in danger, but they do it precisely every time, except for a few instances in the long history of the Indian Railways.  A network of so many trains. I recently counted the no. of trains between Katpadi and Jolarpet, and I counted 3 trains within a span of 7 minutes on the opposite track. It’s that densely used. Still with precision. Every train. Without an error.

As I crossed to the other side, there was an oncoming goods train on the other track coming at great speed. The railway protection police personnel started running on the platform along the track with white flash light on, checking to make sure that none of the passengers from the train that I just got out from, got into the track of the oncoming train…

And tears of gratitude started rolling from my eyes…

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One thought on “The Grand Indian Railways

  1. Hi…Read your blog…loved few things there! Especially the part about how thoughts started just as the train started to depart…and the part about how we take for granted the things that enable us! Crisply and succinctly pointed out! So informative too! Sometimes we need people to point out the most basic of things for us to appreciate! Well done! Keep up the good work sir!

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