Train travel has become a part in my life right from my college days. I almost spend five hours a day in train to commute to my college. It used to be the most exciting period of my life. Boredom was never a feeling during these train travels as they showcase so many fascinating things (Click here to know my previous experiences). Among those things the one that fascinates me the most would be observing the fellow passengers. The world is filled with countless interesting characters and most of them could be found in train. An hour journey in a train gives you an exciting opportunity to get to know these people. It could make you an exciting story-teller, if at all you have the zeal. Here comes one such incident.
It was a sun-drenched day with clear skies and dazzling sunshine. Whereas I was literally shivering because of the freezing temperature in the 2nd AC coach. I was travelling back home from Bhubaneswar after successfullcompletion of Nature Camp. The journey was nearly 23 long hours yet I loved it. For the first half an hour books were my only companion. If I remember right, it was Khurda Station and I started sensing something strange. I noticed sudden inspection by Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) in my coupe, he was ensuring the coupe was clean and surprisingly enquired me about the travel. It didn't stop there, few more men with gigantic physique continued doing the same thing. These subsequent visitors not just invaded my privacy but started annoying me. The time passed by and another guy, who was looking short and timid with curly hair, started decorating the seat opposite to me. Second AC coaches are definitely much cleaner but that didn't stop him from cleaning those dirt-free seats. After the tedious cleaning process, he placed a blanket on the seat that was further covered with a white bedspread.
This wasn't the end, next came the pillows and he was careful to place them correctly at the corner. This was indeed a rare scene to be spotted in a train, I was astonished as well as eager to see the celebrity-passenger who directed such a scene without his presence. My eyes started focusing on every single being who passed by the coupe. Hearing the footsteps, I excitingly turned just to see the same person, who arranged the seat, approaching with a bottle of mineral water and a glass. Aaah! I almost screamed to see the person behind these scene. Finally, the man behind the scenes appeared in the coupe.
He was pulling himself into the coupe with his huge pot-belly. The belly was big enough to not let him walk fast. He should be a man in his mid 50s with a hefty physique. It took him almost three minutes to settle down in his neatly decorated seat. "He definitely must be a senior officer in Indian Railways", said the proactive thinker in me. I was pretty confident with my guess, seeing the formal attire he wore to the subsequent greetings he received from all the railway officials. I was certainly right, he is a Deputy Commissioner under passenger safety division. He was on inspection duty from Bhubaneswar to Vishakapatnam. Those frequent visits and cautious arrangements made sense now. But the pampering didn't end, once he sat down the officer's helper (the man who did these arrangements) knelt down on the floor and started untying the officers shoe lace. He not only removed his shoes and socks but also made him lie down over that bed.
Our government tree is planted in such a way that the citizens are branches and the Officers or bureaucrats are the roots. We could have a peaceful living only when they are pleased. I could witness such a scene where the superior officer expected not just respect but something beyond than that.
That's the level of mentality most of our so-called officers bear in their mind. These assistants are not just helpers but are Government employees who came into the service after clearing a tiresome selection process conducted by staff selection commission (SSC). Do they really deserve this?
I always dream of becoming an officer because being an officer gives you power. the power to do something. The power to make the change. But see the reality! This is India yet there are exceptions, one of which was our most beloved Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. The man who not just taught me to dream but also make me realise the inner meaning of DREAM.
"Dream is not the one that comes in your sleep..
Dream is the one that doesn't make you sleep"
On this 69th Independence Day, I take deep pleasure to write about this inspiring soul. There are many astonishing things about this legend, I am sure most of you would have read his books and publications. Here are few interesting information about him that I came across through external sources.
- President of India is supposed to have 1000s of employees working for him at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Be it the personal secretaries, cooks, house-keeping staffs, he has it all. He even have a person to tie his shoe lays. Dr. Kalam is first such president who sent back 75% of his staffs back to their respective government departments.
- A cobbler and a hotelier was invited for President's Swearing-in ceremony.
- No Eid al-Fitr was celebrated during his term. Eid al-Fitr is a fast-breaking event performed at the end of Ramadan fasting. Dr. Kalam estimated the amount of that event and donated half of its amount to orphanages and other charity homes.
- He stayed alone in Rashtrapati Bhavan, which can accommodate more than 1000 people with its 750 rooms. Almost all the presidents stayed there with their entire family.
- His brother's family visited him during his term, stayed there with him at New Delhi for which Dr. Kalam paid the bill. This is the first time (maybe last) a president is paying for his guest who stayed with him at Rastrapathi Bhavan.
Just proceed what your heart says to you, don't go by your mind.
"Happy Independence Day"
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100th post and a tribute to the man who taught me to DREAM... Reviewed by T R Gowthama on 16:10 Rating: