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Life on the Wheels: Mr Ram Kumar

The title might suggest that the post is about some adventurous traveler, who roams the world in a four wheeler exploring thousands of kilometers. Indeed, he travels thousands of kilometers, probably 36000 km a month, yet he is not adventurous traveler, and probably we would never imagine our lives to be like his.
Life on the Wheels
Meet Mr. Ram Kumar, the coach attendant of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. Mr. Kumar, with just 4 holidays a month, travels all the way from New Delhi to Dibrugarh via Guwahati serving passengers and back. Again the same day he leaves for Jammu with another fleet of passengers and the cycle goes on. Four holidays is just like nothing, a resident of Bihar, it takes him 2 days to reach home from Delhi and unlike the so called posh Rajdhani where he serves; he boards a general sleeper class compartment to get back.

Yet, he wears a badge saying ‘Serving with a smile’ and severs to every new face which he meets in his journey without any complaint. He is very quick in his arithmetic as very efficiently he keeps an account of all the belongings of the 72 berths in a coach. This includes 72 pillows and their covers, 144 bed sheets, 72 blankets and equal number of towels. And after each journey, he makes sure that none of it goes missing, else the billion dollar railway ministry would cut down his close to few thousand salary.
Mr Ram preparing to serve the passengers 

This is the same story of many such Ram Kumars, who serves the privileged customers of the Indian Railway Network. They lead a life where they have to wake up long before the customers do, serve them the whole day and sleep after completing the preparation of the serves of the next day.
Mr Kumar counting the bed sheets after the journey and arranging them 

I asked him, aren’t you sick of your job. It’s like you are always on the move yet you are confined to limited space of few kilometers. He smiles, you can’t complain about the thing that keeps the chimney of your house burning, and this is life. 

Indeed, people like him are compelled to live a life like this, just because they never complain and are ready to do anything to secure the lives of their family. But the worst thing is, in spite of their hard work and dedication, their jobs are not secured. Any moment, they can be thrown out of their job, just because they are leased workers of some contractors who have been assigned the catering part if the Indian Railway Network. Yet, they continue to work, serving the passengers with a smile and giving them no room to complain. 

Another interesting fact about him was that, travelling in train has made his terminology very much railway oriented. He measures length with respect to bogie length. That like, the distance of his home from the railway station is 5 coaches. Another note able thing about him was his understanding of human psychology, something which he has developed after meeting thousands of passengers in a month. He can easily make out which passenger is what mentality and acts according to.

Seldom do people write about people like him, and when I said I would attempt something on him, trust me he was so excited. After having travelled in the Rajdhani Express for so many times and seeing these people work so hard, I found it very interesting and heart pleasing to write on one such person. 

Amlan Das Amlan Das Author

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