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Monday, April 08, 2013

Railway tales



I always had a fascination for  train travel ,

even travelling in a business class of a modern airline would not give one  that primordial thrill specially as I  remember my childhood days on a soot filled hooting steam engine driven behemoth .

My close friend and schoolmate Roneo Chako is today a senior railway officer ,

in school we often used to run off to the nearby Santhome beach in the afternoons with a couple of others to watch the sea and other lurid attractions on offer during the sunny lazy afternoons in a beach ,much more interesting than those deary classrooms !
once we saw a car parked in the beach road and a young couple inside talking they were some love birds parked for some privacy ,we were giggling as we crossed them at which they too were amused later reaching the sea we were full of geticulations and signs that they could have their fun ,
as we returned back again we crossed them ,the man asked so had your fun? and Roneo immediately said yes and did you have yours !!

I was just retelling this to Roneo whom I met after many years in Chennai
cant imagine the same imp of a   Roneo to be in a responsible position today and then he recited one of his many anecdotes ...
once as a train superintendent whose duty was to travel in the train he was somewhere in UP in a remote forested area ,it was night and the train stopped abruptly as someone had pulled the chain ,Roneo got down as did the engine driver and guard and found out an old man had pulled the chain as his teenage son had fallen overboard ,
As both were sitting on steps the boy would have fallen asleep with the cool wind in his face ,the father was wailing ,
telephonic contact was attempted with nearby stations but failed as those days there were no mobile phones ,the father said he would walk back but he did not know where and when the boy had fallen and even if he did trace the boy how could he ever take him to a  hospital if needed in that remote dark area ,
All eyes were on the suptd who was the senior most officer ,
it was against rules for asking a train to go back as accidents could happen with the nearby stations not being aware of the happenings yet Roneo asked driver to go back taking full responsibility of all outcomes ,driver was hesitant and tried to convince him the risk involved for everyone Roneo was firm .
the train slowly lumbered back while powerful torches were shone on side to trace the boy ,after more than 4 km they saw a gleam and when investigated it was the unconscious boy bleeding surely to his death but was saved in time ,then getting him to the next station and the hsopital was easily done and on return a tired worried superintendent was happy to know that the boy was saved and he was commeneded for his quick thinking
my Naughty Roneo

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