The Railway Announcer (Part – I)


The Railway Announcer

The Railway Announcer

Today was the first day of the job. Binay could hardly sleep the last night. He was excited and thrilled, but mostly, he was scared. Why wouldn’t he be? This was the first time he had been out of Darbhanga, a small district town in Bihar, his home. Of course, he had been a few times to Patna, he had been there for the recruitment exam for this job as well, but he was always accompanied by friends or relatives. Whereas now, lying on the bug infested rope-sewn cot, surrounded by unplastered walls on the third floor of Ghosh Babu’s house in Kumarganchi, he was alone.

It was approximately 6 months ago when Binay’s father, Ram Sarveshvar Jha, had received Binay’s appointment letter from the Indian Railways. At first he was perplexed and then afraid to open the envelope. Jha ji was an educated man and used to work as a teacher in the district primary school, but he was now retired. He had trouble in reading now due to glaucoma in his eyes. But, after tilting the envelope at an unnatural angle, and with enough stress on his eyeballs, he had identified the ‘Ashok Stambh’ and the words ‘GOVERNMENT OF INDIA’ written in block and bold in the middle, right at the top of the envelope. He had stressed his mind enough, but was unable to decipher any reasons behind receiving a letter from the government and was afraid, due to his own derivation, that a communication from the government could only mean trouble. He had sent Chunnu, the neighbor’s young kid, to go and fetch Binay from Kanhaiya’s tea stall, the locality’s ‘Adda’. Chunnu had returned minutes later, out of breath because of his dash to the tea stall and back, Binay was trailing him. Binay had a long face and was visibly irked at being disturbed during his early evening adda. However, a twinkle in his eyes and a grin on his face had appeared when his father had handed over the envelope. Binay knew at once what the contents of the envelope were, not only because he was expecting the envelope but also because the words ‘APPOINTMENT LETTER’, were inscribed on it, just below the government markings.  He had torn the envelope, much to the disbelief of his father who had thought that some contemplation was required before the act. Binay looked at the contents of the envelope and had jumped almost up to the ceilings. His mother, who was in the kitchen, preparing tea for her husband, came out hurriedly, alarmed by the commotion. She was hugged by her son, the tightest embrace ever. Binay had then bowed down to touch his father’s feet, to receive his blessings and had announced to his parents – “hamara railway mein ho gaya.” (I have been selected in the railways). The mother had looked up in the sky with folded hands and went inside to pray before the gods, but first she had unfolded the 100 rupee note tied in the corner of her Sari and sent off Chunnu to get the sweets. The father’s troubled face had lit up with happiness and pride. And Binay had run off to the streets announcing every one of his employment.

Continued…

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3 responses to “The Railway Announcer (Part – I)

  1. Pingback: The Railway Announcer (Part – II) | This parachute is a knapsack!·

  2. Pingback: The Railway Announcer (Part – III) | This parachute is a knapsack!·

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