Towing NaMonetization*…

*NaMonetization – a word coined by me… if you use it, please quote the source from my Urban Dictionary…

Friday, November 11, 2016

As a kid travelling across the country in a number of trains, I developed this keen sense of what moves the trains and when… of course, a first assumption is, as my younger sister, younger as she was to me by 4 years, would tell me with a straight face…

“It is the Engine, Silly”…

Of course… undoubtedly… how stupid of me not to have thought of that…

Born in a Railway family… where my father would matter-of-factedly bring a 7-Up or a 14-Down to the dinner table conversation… the trains, their numbers, the routes… and as such, the 3 and 4 letter station codes were a part of my early vocabulary…

And with that, my cosmic fascination about what makes the long snaking brown passenger coaches move… till my father showed me the innards of a monstrous black steam engine on one of the trips that we were making to our native town in Odisha… a trip that was our staple during our summer vacations…

Being employed in the Railways, my father used to get his way around most stations, platforms, station masters – guess he knew most of them in the country… and at times, their family members and their neighbors too… and the Steam Engines…

The Steam Engine held many secrets in its huge titanic tummy… the Black was always more Bold than Beautiful… and my father used to make a regimental trip to the Engine each time it used to stop… the pretext was just to say hello to the Engine driver and his assistant… who universally were blackened on their skin by the soot and dust and blended with the landscape of the blackness of the Engine itself… wore their dark blue uniforms… pulled those various levers in front of the gigantic fire that burned with shovels of coal thrown into the pit…

But it was always the stylish bandannas on their head that they wore that was most captivating for me… it gave me the impression of a free-wheeling Samaritan who had the power to pull all those brown dust-laden brown passenger coaches… tied together, as I understood, by some iron thread… ran on iron wheels… on iron rails…

I remember the passenger coach we used to travel on most occasions used to be the 4-berth, exclusive 1st class coupe (as it was called)… one of the eccentricities that he was not entitled to in his rank and role in the Railways… but which, he used to manage through ‘Jugaad’… and his pre ordained trips from the coach to the Engine were always to give something to the driver and staff… say, food from the basket that my other used to pack… and get something back in return… say, the hot water that generates the Steam in the Engine…

The hot water was useful for a variety of small little pleasures such as making your own tea with the tea leaf that my mother packed along in the food basket…

As the innards of the Steam Engine became visible to me, my intrigue grew… as to how the Engine never slept… how it was always there to move… and make hundreds and thousands of people move along with it in one go… and I had thought at that time, that the drivers never slept too… and that it was the same Engine and the drivers who pulled us on our trip… our entire trip… origin to destination… a 40 hour trip at times…

Till a little later in life… I gaining knowledge around how Engines and drivers are retired to sleep and refresh after every 8 hours… and another Engine and driver would then take over and drive us further…

The time during the change of guard, however, always seemed interminable and was spent in despair… I knew the old Engine has been detatched from the first coach and another, new Engine is going to be attached… this change was evident through a slight nudge that the new Engine gave to the entire train when it came in contact with the first coach… and the entire train moved back a little on the rails…

The slight nudge at times, was not really slight… particularly when it was somewhere in the middle of the night when the entire train load of passengers were sleeping and did not expect the nudge to make a huge rumble and reverberation…

But I guess – the Engine was usually a lot more ROTUND… and the driver a lot ROBUST in his behavior… at that hour of the day… er… night…

The train always had an interesting mix of travellers… a lot of them would curse the inefficient way the Engine was attached which rudely woke them from their slumber… some would pile abuse on the driver…

But in those times, while I woke up with a start, the new Engine and the driver brought hope for me… the new Engine will now pull the train into the morning… out of darkness… it brought motion… towards the next station… and my destination… as well those of many in those trains…

In my many years of travelling in trains now… and having known many Engines and drivers… I found a new driver earlier this week… a ROTUND driver actually, with a 56” diaphragm… driving a ROBUST newly oiled Engine…

This time, the wait time before this Engine was attached to the train was interminable… the attaching of the Engine, as it was in the middle of the night, was not slight, but with a loud rumble… the curse of the travellers in deep slumber… the abuse heaped on the driver…

But there is Hope… the Steam Engine is replaced (hopefully) with a new Range Rover Discovery Engine… towing a 125 crore tonne train…

And the Driver is dressed well in WHITE… with no Bandanna on his head…

Towing NaMonetization… there is HOPE…

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

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Smee & Me @ 19…

Friday, November 04, 2016

It has been a week since Diwali… there are 3 gifts from friends… 2 of which are yet unwrapped… and 1 unopened…

Now, Smee (my wife Smita – for the uninitiated), a stickler for all gifts accounted for in life – including Me… and who assigns rightful places in life for all gifts – including Me… has chosen this year to ignore the conscientious act of unwrapping, opening, accounting for and assigning the rightful place… for the gifts – including Me…

Me say ‘including Me’… because ever since Smee and Me chose the wedlock this very week 19 years ago on November 2nd… Me have this eerie feel that Smee always considered Me to be a gift…

Me don’t know why, but Me always want to think positive… Me can never Think what Smee is Thinking of me… Me can only Think of what Me am Thinking of what she COULD be Thinking of me…

And that’s always wishful Thinking…

Me wasn’t wired like this from the beginning… Me mean, ever since Me knew what wiring means…

But marriage does funny things to people…

Imaginez s’il vous plait…

Me was young, single, footloose, fancy-free, living on a shoestring budget, gorging on the gifts of life… and of Diwali… and suddenly Smee would decide to open the Diwali gifts… since 1997…

Smee has always been extremely meticulous in unwrapping gifts… she would approach the act with utmost devotional reverence… perhaps more cautiously than what the bomb-squad teams would, when equipped with all those pliers and cutters, cut through the innards of a bomb…

Looks like that’s what it is then… the exposure of the innards…

When she started unwrapping me after we got married… I did not feel as Soulful as I feel now… she started peeling me layer by layer… getting into the inside of me and my Soul… and showing me the mirror all these 19 years…

Trust me only your wife can do that to you… the first of such victims was Socrates… and the next is Me… nobody in between…

The first thing that Me learnt was Me am inept at 3 things when it came to unwrapping and opening gifts… 1 – how could anyone attack a gift to ruthlessly tear off the wrapper with little or no heed to what’s inside and how that could get spoilt (a function of the BODY)… 2 – not appreciate the thought and faith behind the gift that was given (of the MIND)… and 3 – how could anyone NOT note down – deep down in one’s soul, the price, and the value thereof, of that gift which is usually masked by the giver (a function of the SOUL)

Now, Smee would carefully open the gift… say a few words with devout passion in appreciation of what and why the gift was given… and then note down how the gift giver needs to be repaid…

Of course not immediately, but Smee relishes giving gifts on such occasions as, when this person remarried… or when one of her friends drove her husband nuts… or when she discovers one of my Beer Buddies is moving out of my life into another city or country… and such other immortal occasions…

For Smee, when gifts are received… they must be repaid… with a vengeance… and vengeance has a value… the SOUL thing

For Me, when gifts are received… Smee must open them… Me am soulless…

Smee would note down the price… or the perceived value of the gift… many of our friends are principled fraudsters… they would scratch the price tag on the gift article in such a way that tells you that they have been diligent at the act of scratching… the price tag, I mean… yet, would leave enough hint as to the money that they paid to get the gift through to us… it’s like the length of the lungi… long enough to hide the Tamilian Male Thunder Thighs… yet, short enough to reveal the Socks and the Hawai Chappals…

Smee’s microscopic vision catches the finer details of the scratched price tags… the SOUL thing…

Me would often forget the price value equation… Me would simply trick my fraudster friends with an equally perplexing gift – of course, after calculating the Inflation Index…

Smee would sniff and feel through the gift… she would have this hunch what’s inside… and then she would take an intuitive call not to open the gift for various reasons… 1 – this is not the right time for opening this one, this might get spoilt due to oxidation, air pollution or simply – human glare… 2 – this is not the right gift for us, perhaps our children, when they grow up might find better use of it… 3 – looks like somebody else may benefit from this gift more than Smee and Me… like our distant cousins who keep calling us once in a lifetime – we could pass this gift off to them and hope the SAME gift doesn’t come back to us in the next life…

… and 4 – and this takes the cake… Smee would know from a sniff that this is actually the SAME gift that she gave to somebody in her last life… the SOUL thing…

Me, despite my canine orientation and behavioral patterns, would stay away from sniffing and smelling… how Soulless…

Smee would preserve the gift wrappers… we have a pile of them at home… and reuse when wrapping another gift that gets given later… looks shabby at times… but what the heck – it’s what’s inside that really matters – not the wrapper…

So, has Smee been peeling me layer by layer all these 19 years just to ensure what’s inside me really matters… and to keep that in tune with times… changing life stages of the body and the mind…

We still have our Wedding Costumes well preserved… the wrapped exteriors that we gifted ourselves… unwrapped and wrapped again…

How SOULFUL…!

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula