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Blog Entry# 406554  
Posted: Apr 24 2012 (8:43PM)

48 Responses
Last Response: Apr 25 2012 (11:20AM)

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Apr 24 2012 (8:43PM)  

PKV*^~   19023 blog posts   66 correct pred (78% accurate)
Entry# 406554            Tags   Past Edits
A 10 year-old residing with his maternal uncle at Chennai had come to his parental home in Kolkata for his winter vacation. After 3 weeks of fun and frolic, it was time to get back to school in Chennai. His parents were not financially in a position to drop him back at Chennai and so they put him aboard the 12839 (then 3 UP) Howrah Chennai Mail with no escort, trusting the rest to God. The parents were tense about the well-being and safety of the eldest of their 3 off-springs but the little boy was all agog with excitement at the prospect of a solo train journey. There were 2 or 3 other known
families traveling in the same train but in different bogies which were not then vestibuled. Nor was there sleeping accommodation available. With the aid of an enterprising coolie, a window seat in 3rd class (present day general coach) was secured.
The mother was standing on the platform near her little boy with tears in her eyes while the father went in search of an acquaintance who was to be requested to keep an eye on the kid passenger. A little later he came back and reported that his friends had agreed to enquire from time to time about the boy’s welfare wherever the train had a fairly long halt. In fact he had found two friends to act as local guardians during the course of the journey. But the male ego of that little boy even at that tender age was bruised and he angrily remarked to his parents “Why don’t you tell the engine driver to keep an eye on me and visit me at each station where the train stops.” The parents mollified him and soon the train hauled by a Canadian steam engine, manufactured perhaps in CLW and not Canada, chugged out of Howrah Station at about 2.30 pm.Yes the Howrah-Chennai Mail, then used to depart at 2.30 pm and reach Chennai at 5 am on the 3rd day, a journey time of nearly 39 hours for a distance of 1032 miles, as it was measured those days
The little boy had been well provided with food to last the entire duration of the journey and also Rs. 10 by way of pocket money for emergencies. The first purchase he made was DOODH PEDAS at Bhadrak for 25 paise. There is not much remembrance of the rest of the journey except the sight of the magnificent WALTAIR station. After all, the event relates to half a century ago. The remaining part of the journey has receded from his memory and is beyond recall.
But the journey had a far-reaching impact on the psyche and mental make-up of that little boy. First and foremost it boosted his confidence level sky-high and made him feel that nothing in the world was beyond him. Secondly it made him very independent and slightly cocky too but not arrogant. Last but not the least, that journey gave rise to the emergence of an AVID and ARDENT RAILFAN.
Many of you are familiar with that little boy even if he is now neither LITTLE nor a BOY. In fact, in the IRI circles he is better known as PKV Sir.

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Apr 24 2012 (9:11PM)
Gopalakrishnan P   2109 blog posts   240 correct pred (76% accurate)
Re# 406554-23            Tags   Past Edits
At the end of first paragraph, I could identify the boy. Thank you Sir. But Rs. 10 is princely sum, I think. Please do some research and find out what was the train fare for your journey. As usual a real enjoyable reading matter from you. Thank you very much

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