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My father and Indian Railways by Lakshmi Bhat
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  • 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,
    Ananthpur.
    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
    Headquarters.
    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 :))
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