Wednesday, December 26, 2012
He seems to be an anachronism in these high-tech days. It is only when one gets away from the cities that the standing of a railway station master can be truly gauged. In the small stations along the country's rail network, the master is truly one. In the larger ones - towns, cities - the 'Station Master' designation is being replaced by something called 'Station Manager'. Maybe replaced is not the right word, for there are some stations where both officials are working.
According to the All India Station Masters' Association, the country has 35,770 railwaymen who we notice as our train passes the station; they stand there, waving a red or a green flag. Nice job, being friendly to the trains that pass along. Of course there is more to it, but especially in a rustic station, where time runs slow, such flag waving is possibly the high point of the station master's day.
But an MRTS station like Velachery - shown in the picture - is somewhere in between. The frequency of trains is not so high that the station master keeps popping in and out, and not so low that he can sack out between trains. For a moment, I thought this particular station master was confused about which flag to wave!