Some time last year, my parents were returning from
Chennai to Mangalore by the West coast Express.
It was a little late and as they got down ,they saw the
train to Puttur just on the verge of leaving. Puttur is
a small place where they have been living for more
than 25 years.
My father, who is now 81 and my mother who is 71,
started running across the platform!!!!
Two white haired people sprinting across!!
The driver of the train to Puttur saw them and stopped the
train, a passenger helped them to climb in.
That was really nice of the driver.
My father,Subramanya Bhat, worked in the Indian
Railways from 1958 to 1987 and trains are so much a part
of his life.
So often I have seen his expression when he watches a train
chugging into the platform. There is so much of affection.
He studied Civil Engineering in the Engineering College,
After his graduation in 1952, he worked there for three
years as a lecturer. He then moved to Bombay to work
in Gammon India, for three years. While working there,
he wrote the UPSC exam in 1955.
His options were Central Engineering Services. Military
Engineering Services and Railway Engineering Services.
He stood first in India in the Military Engineering services
and got the second rank in the Railway Engineering Services.
He wanted to join the Railways , the interview was some
time in 1957 and he had to go to Delhi.
As his eyesight was not very good he was offered the
Stores Dept. He was not very happy about this and was
thinking of turning down the offer.
In Mumbai , when his elder brother’s friend heard about
this he called my father a fool for even thinking of turning
down a Class One Officer’s job in the Government.
In those days , job opportunities were very few.
So, in 1958,he joined Indian Railways. His first posting
was in Guwahati. He told us that it took him five days to
reach the place from Mumbai. He went to Benaras and
from there to Siliguri, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
He travelled from Siliguri to Amingaon, on the north bank
of the Brahmaputra.
There was no bridge across the river in those days and
one had to cross it on a steamer to reach Pandu, on the
other side. His final destination was Maligaon, the Railway
He joined as a probationer, but due to lack of training
Facilities in that place, he was transferred to Calcutta, the
Headquarters of South Eastern Railway.
He was posted to Kharagpur, in 1958 or 1959.
My parents were married in May 1959 and thus started
their life long association with Indian Railways.
He retired on 11-02-1987 from Indian Railways and his
last posting was in Guwahati.
A full circle :))