Showing posts with label RaiL DiAriEs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RaiL DiAriEs. Show all posts

Monday, 30 July 2012

Rail Diaries #5: Serendipity: Blog # 44

Rail Diaries #5: Serendipity

29th July 2012 – Onboard Aleppey Express J
                          Remember this character from the olden days TV soap, ‘Chandrakantha’? And how does Kroor Singh feature in a rail diary? Read on to find out J.

rail diaries                      Every Friday evening, the Chennai sky holds a false promise – of a torrential rain. Due to this, I have to get in to a worrisome rush to the Tambaram station and then further to Chennai Central. This week too was no different. This journey was full of chance meetings and that’s why the name, Serendipity.   
                        I took an auto to the suburban station from the place where I stay. Being fully aware that the driver will ask for 60 bucks, I tried my luck giving him a 50 rupees note. He said “What sir, last time also you gave me 50 and I asked for 60!” Then I realized it’s the same auto which I took last time and it’s the same person.

                        I made it in to the train parked on platform no.2, just in time. Searching for a window seat, I saw a familiar face. He is Devassy Uncle, the person whom I asked about the stations, route et al the previous week. He looks exactly like Kroor Singh J , complete with the thickest of eyebrows and a military style moustache and yes, not to forget the mean look. We had a chit chat and much to my friends’ glee, he asked me as to why do I go home every weekend! J . He got down at Nungambakkam and I got down at Park station.

                        After the usual Sharavana bhavan dinner, I was walking towards my compartment and there he was, my RAC friend. He is Girish, a PhD in Micro biology and working for Central government's Epidemic control and study department .Chances are I won’t see another person with the same profession in my lifetime – it is that niche!. We had a nice chat the last time. He said his family is also there this week. Having kept my baggage in s4, I went to s7 to meet Girish’s family. 

                   Coming back to S4, I met my cousin’s friend in S5!. This sort of serendipity was beginning to get a bit weird – it almost seemed like I was living in the past week. Not wanting to risk any more chance meetings, I hit the bed (berth) fast. J  .

Arun Babu.  

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Rail Diaries #4 : Grinning from ear to ear: Blog # 42

Rail Diaries #4 : Grinning from ear to ear

22nd July 2012, 7:00 PM, Onboard our own Aleppey Express J : Travelling in RAC ticket!

rail diaries,kindness,A coffee vendor came by. An elderly person sitting beside me waved at him. When he gave a 10 rupee note, the vendor told he doesn’t have change and left. I gave a judgemental smile (shaking my head in disapproval and all) to the elderly person. In a while, the vendor came by, gave back the 5 rupees change and he looked at me and smiled. He might have seen my disapproving smile et al. I flinched! May be my friend Sudarshan is right – I judge a tad bit too fast J.

I haven’t stopped smiling since I boarded – For no reason at all. I am not just happy, Ecstatic is more like it J. I am too distracted with happiness that I kept back the ‘Aleph’ I was beginning to read.   
Was it the afternoon meeting with Raghu and Vivek Or is it the last minute hug from Amma before leaving home? May be it was the small chat I had with dad about his Gulf days before I boarded. My sister’s sweet gesture of buying a biriyani and surprising her friend, Anju at the station also made me happy.  

         But come to think of it, there is a more valid reason – One of pride and humility.

There is this scene in the Malayalam film, ‘Ustad hotel’. The grandfather is hospitalised and the grandson (who is the protagonist) who loves him dearly says “I just hope he doesn’t ask me to stay back.”.The grandson was about to go on a much longed for job assignment abroad. I found myself in his shoes recently – well almost.

            My Grandfather has a younger brother who is unmarried. He is now 92 and he stays in an old age home. He refuses to come and stay with any of his relatives. I am close to him owing to my dad being his favourite. Earlier, there were times when dad used to suggest bringing him home. I was not in favour of this idea – don’t judge me –I am fairly good person ;) . There are certain handicaps for us as a family which makes it difficult for us to think of such a solution.

            But this time around, when dad brought up this suggestion again, I found myself absolutely quite. I couldn’t object. Have I become more mature or did I put myself in his shoes? Inspite of all our handicaps, I wanted to give it a try.

Being the quick fixer that he is, dad went ahead and called up all his cousins and found a solution which was in utmost consideration of his uncle’s preference and convenience. He also suggested all his cousins visit their uncle without fail and I know he will be the one who will be there first.  

When life throws such challenges at us, we need to think and act from within. My father did exactly that and I feel extremely proud of him and love him for what he did. 

           I realized watching ‘Satyameva Jayate’ , teary eyed and with a lump in my throat doesn’t solve the problems. Neither does the post show - intellectually and emotionally stimulated conversations pitying the current state of affairs of our society help.

            I pray and hope all of us feel and act with all heart and soul whenever we are faced with a situation like this.

Arun Babu. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

Rail Diaries#3 - WL...RAC...And CNF !!!: Blog # 41

Rail Diaries#3 - WL...RAC... & CNF!!!

                  Anyone who has travelled by train would have gone through this painstaking process of their ticket going through the stages of Waiting list, Reservation against cancellation and Confirmation. I did too, last Sunday.

               IRCTC shamelessly ditched, as always. With great difficulty, I got a tatkal ticket (thanx to Vivek’s chalakudy clout ;) ). And here I was, on board Aleppey express on 15th July 2012 yet again.
Rail diaries          
     In our compartment, there was this person who got transferred from Delhi to Chennai. He said he is working in AAI and is going to work for a while in Chennai Airport. He said “Here, no one understands what I say. Neither can I make out what they are saying. There should be only one language in the country”.

          Being the language zealot that I am, I would never agree to that. The beauty of languages is in their diversity and little similarities. For instance, Bengali is one of the sweetest languages. It is similar to Malayalam in the sense that it doesn’t consider gender as much as in Hindi. Hence for mallus and bongs, “Gaadi aaya and Gaadi aayi” are one and the same J .

             I like the melodious ring of tamil as much as I like the buoyant spirit of Gujarati. And who doesn’t love the most vivacious of all languages, Urdu? Hindi gives a head start and acts as a talking point in itself with almost anyone from any part of our country.

           I think languages in themselves are a paradox. In spite of all their differences, these languages hold this great nation of ours together. People teach and learn each others’ languages and a camaraderie evolves from that.

The similarity in languages acts as a binding thread and the differences facilitates a melting pot of varied cultures.

          But having said that, I read somewhere that there are two nations of the world which are divided by a single language – US and UK by English!. Strange!
                                                                                                                                            Arun Babu.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Rail Diaries#2 - A journey to remember.... : Blog # 39

Rail Diaries#2 - A journey to remember....

*A birthday blog for my Professor

               Now that DG Sir has immortalised this breath taking scenery through his lens, I miss Planet E even more. A couple of months back, to witness this lush green landscape with the elephant mountains chalking out the horizon, all we had to do was  look out of the wagons.

Rail diaries               This B-E-A-utiful pic reminds me of the numerous train journeys to and from Planet Etti! Of those, one was with DG sir J. As always, it was fun having a tete-a-tete with him. Let me try and recollect what it was all about. 

          We were sitting on the platform waiting for the train to chug in. Sir walked towards us with a Cola (Believe it or not) in his hand – may be Planet E was too sunny that day. We had a deal that we won’t tell Mam about this J. But now, Mam being in a different continent altogether, let me take that risk J.

          We stood by the train’s door. Sir talked about his student days. How he got in to Ponds and how preoccupied he was during those two years at IIM, yet so gleeful. Then we talked about Saanidhya, their summer getaway and how they love to come back by bus and only bus J.He reminisced about his Berkeley days and Mam’s globetrotting days.

How he loves to see a city waking up. What great fun it is to take an early morning walk through the by lanes of Palakkad. His liking for Kanji, the Kerala dish and the mangoes of Delhi.

           My point here is, through light hearted conversations like these and through the class room sessions, the learning that you have instilled in us is immense. From the comment that you made “Even I want to wish dg sir a happy birthday”, I sense an element of surprise and of being overwhelmed - Surprised, may be because how exceedingly wonderful the years at ASB turned out to be and Overwhelmed, of course by our affectionJ.

          I know I speak for many many of your students when I say you have earned every bit of that affection. So here’s wishing many many more Decades of Goodness J. Happy Birthday!

                                                                                                                                            Arun Babu         

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rail Diaries#1 - The Blue Malabar Wagons : Blog # 35

Rail Diaries#1 - The Blue Malabar Wagons

rail diaries
       7:00 pm, Sunday, 24th June, Onboard Aleppey Express: I  am on the first of many many Chennai trips to come, my office being at Mahindra city (a planet far far away from Chennai ;) ). Having recuperated from a small bike accident for a week at home, I am going to be back at work tomorrow morning.

         I find train journeys reasonably boring. At Palghat station, I got down for a cup of tea and to take a stroll. Blowing in to my cup of tea, I looked across and there is parked, the all too familiar blue wagons of Malabar Cements Ltd (MCL) and it got me thinking.

            A quick flash back to our engineering days; the reason being a couple of my close friends had done their final year engineering project at MCL. Out of sheer curiosity, I had set out on a journey to MCL with them when they went to collect their certificates from there. Seated on the concrete slabs, I remember staring at these wagons back then from the very same platform. I distinctly remember us collectively fretting about placements. But we were moderately confident and hopeful. Later on, some of us joined some IT firms and the rest including me set out to Bombay in search of a job. Luckily, all of us landed jobs and is now spread across India.

           After a year at Bombay, I resigned from RIL and came to do MBA and thus began the train journeys to and from ASB, Coimbatore. Boy, those were fun! Even then I remember noticing these blue wagons. I used to give some gyaan to anyone who cared to listen as to how they belong to MCL and how it might be on lease from railways and so on, usually that person being Vivek. Many a time when I repeated the same gyaan (which was more often than not) he shut me up too J .Even then, we used to wonder where we will be after the course ends. I guess the blue wagons just manifest themselves whenever I am in search of a job.

        And now, again on a Sunday night, I see the blue wagon J, enroute my office. I hope it’s not an omen of an impending search for a job! Given the market situations, you never know J. But being the wanna be optimist I am , I look at it as a sign of luck and as something which is going to bring me seasons of good times to be cherished.
                                                                                                   Arun Babu.