In 1955, I joined the Western Railway as an Apprentice Fireman ‘A’, to pursue my career as a Steam locomotive Driver.
The steam locomotive is the only motive Power in the world where it is required to create the energy and move the wheel. All other Motive Machines, whether, Electric, Petrol, Diesel, ATF, or Cryogenic driven, move at the push of a button. The Driver /Pilot look at the dashboard and ahead. In the roaring steam locomotive days of the 50’s, 90% of the time was spent in watching the fire bed, steam & water gauges, ensuring satisfactory energy output.
We started off as khalasis, and then moved up the scale. As Firemen, we interchange duties with the khalasis.I still remember heaving a huge amount of coal to the foot of the tender for the Leading Fireman to stoke the Iron Horse. Then, shielded by the mountain of coal in the chute, i would lie on the stack, with a large coal for my pillow, soot covered and sweat drenched, exhausted! I would glance up at the ethereal beauty of the dancing stars in the velvet sky. I would marvel at the Wisdom of the Creator, Who Could Effortlessly Keep the universes and galaxies on path, travelling at Mach speed. A Life time realization that 'God's In His Heaven, All's Right with the world!
For many years i struggled to understand this, but it brought me great peace when i realized the truth of Gita II.47:’you are only entitled to your duty, not the fruits thereof.’
On Nov 10, 2014Neeti wrote :
So well written Denis, truly - We are only entitled to our duty, not the fruits thereof.