Saturday, October 12, 2002

On Getting Off The Train

A dear old boss of mine used to compare life in the 'big company' with travelling on the Indian Railways. Those days bosses had the time for such philosophical ponderings (and much more....) but let's keep that for another occasion.

The analogy had struck me - probably because I had taken the train from Kolkata to Mumbai for my final interviews ( Tirath Mansukhani's rule-book wudn't allow air-fares for candidates - you see !!). I didn't mind it a bit tho'. It was like a free junket (you might say, I showed early promise of being a newspaperman someday) to see the city, which - for me - till then existed only in the Hindi movies ('Bollywood' hadn't been invented in circa 1983).

It's another story that, I overstayed the invitation by a good 19 years. All this while, like a delinquent coach accidentally cut-off from its mother-rake in the shunting yard, I drifted from station to station often changing tracks ( so much so, some started calling me a 'prodigal accountant'). It took me to 'places' that I had never dreamt of visiting - finally reaching pretty close to the 'top of the world' , where I was faced with the difficult choice of either jumping off the cliff or rolling down the slopes.

But, what the heck !!! I had a ball and loved every moment of it. The highs and the lows, the ups and downs, the peaks and troughs- valleys, plains, mountains, sea-sides, I have been thru it all in good measure. Through the journey - like a true Bong that I am - I enjoyed a good fight at every opportunity. But, somewhere, down there I also get the queasy feeling that I may have made a few good friends - bonds that will transcend organisations.

Now it's my turn to get off the train. As I pack my bags ready to disembark, I am a little intimidated to see the teeming crowds waiting on the platform. Then, I remember my last day at school . As we were running out of the building - we found our Principal , a very loving Irish priest, waiting for us at the gate. As we slowly filed past him, he whispered with a beatific smile and a twinkle in his eyes: "Remember - you step out of here and you walk straight into life". I leave with a load of memories - largely pleasant. But, the world outside beckons. So, like my favourite the DH Lawrence character, I say good-bye to all of you - a little droopingly but with a hopeful heart.

See you soon - in the 'big world' out there. Al Vida & Cheers!!! ..............Yours 'S'

PS: Next week I join the ABP ( Ananda Bazar Patrika) Group. Those who claim to know me well say that, this move appears to be straight from the heart ( 'Dil Se'). But, I guess only time will tell - whether it's Dil or Dilli. I shall post my new co-ordinates to you soon. But, till then the yahoo or hotmail address should work fine.