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Some Memories..
Prakash Tendulkar


Foot plating is 70s was much easier than today. The Driving Inspectors were "understanding" and tolerant to some extent.

I am at liberty to share those experiences because the M/men who taught me driving EMUs before I graduated from High school have long since reached heaven.

These "Gurus" were really great when it came to the skills of driving. They had mastered not only EP brakes but also Auto brakes. They were also known as "one application" M/men who would apply EP once at a requisite strength and would gradually release them as necessary before train came to stand still. Never ever, they made second application of EP brakes.

Subsequently, I started working in Mumbai in 69. My office was located right across Churchgate station. This gave me more exposure to M/men and in a couple of years, I became the most well known "unauthorized" M/man of WR.

One Parsi DI who has retired and lives in Lonavala joked many times when he saw me in the cab. He would point to the sign, "only 3 authorized persons allowed" and say, "you are not counted because you are not authorized."

This one episode occurred in mid 70s. A friend of mine was working Borivali Bada Fast; it started from Borivali and ran fast between Jogeshwari and Grant Road. I do not know if it exists today, it probably may not be.

There was one consistent thing about this train. Every week, Monday through Saturday, Shri Samant, then Chief Commercial Superintendent, WR would ride this train from Jogeshwari. A chain smoker, he rarely cared to identify a M/man by name or face.

My friend invited me to ride with him on this train. From Borivali till Jogeshwari home signal, I drove the train. My friend then took over. We were surprised to see that Shri Samant was not on the platform as expected.

Ting Ting! The bell rings, starter is green, no Samant in view and I start the train. Just 15 feet from starter was (now closed) level crossing and staircase partially hides the panoramic view of this crossing. Just few feet before the crossing, appears Shri Samant, waving frantically to draw attention of M/man to stop the rake.

I stopped with emergency brakes, M/man ( a real one) opened the door on guard's side to let him in. There was no time to swap the jobs between me and M/man so I continued driving. But (real) M/man was totally nervous. I knew his (Samant's) chain smoking habit and driving cabs had no-smoking signs. I could sense Samant's uneasiness due to lack of nicotine. 

As we were negotiating points to move on UP Through tracks before Andheri, to cut the silence, I said, "Sir, you may go ahead and smoke if you wish". That really worked like a charm. He talked and found that I am his "Jatwala" (same caste). 

Unusual for Shri Samant, he came and sat on M/man's seat. (Real M/man was standing anyway, like me, to show respect CCS or Chief Commercial Superintendent). Real M/man was relieved. We had a nice chat all the way till Churchgate.

At CCG, Shri Samant patted on my back, thanked for the ride and left. 

M/man described the episode to DI. This Parsi DI exploded and cursed me like mad in typical Parsi Gujrati. (Like Dhansak, Parsi Gujrati has a wonderful flavor that needs to be experienced to enjoy). Anyway, the episode died quickly.

Needless to stay, I never traveled by this train till Shri Samant retired.