Probationer Anonymous

(This play is a creation of the authorís fertile imagination. It bears no resemblance to any real life situation.)

Act 1

(Scene 1)

(The scene is Sr. DME/Dslís office. It could be any Diesel Shed in the country. The walls are full of charts. The Sr. DME is busy with some files. The door opens and a young man in a grease-stained shirt and a pair of dirty jeans peeps in.)

Young man: May I come in, sir?

Sr. DME: Yes.

Young man: Good morning, sir. I am XYZ, IRSME probationer.

(Sr. DME looks up from his files and sizes up the probationer)

Sr. DME: Good morning. So, you are here for training. But, hey, wait a second. Today is Friday. Isnít it ! Normally, you guys turn up on a Monday to start your training.

Prob: Sir, actually I have come for my release. My training is concluding tomorrow. Iím here in your shed since last to last Monday. I had come to report to you then. But you were out-of-station attending the Diesel Coordination Meeting.

Sr. DME: But you should have tried again. See, I could have given you a project. You might as well have done something useful while you were here. Anyway, I hope you have done your training seriously. Your institute insists on an interview before releasing probationers. Why donít you come tomorrow at about 1030 along with your notes etc.

Prob: Sir, I have a request. According to my training programme, I have to report at ABC diesel shed (names a shed 2000 Km away) on Monday morning. So, I had made my reservation for the 1000 hrs train tomorrow. If you could please release me today Ė----

Sr. DME: Hmmm! You do have a genuine problem. Why donít you guys make your program in such a way that you do not have to crisscross the country every week. But I am very busy today. The CMPE/Dsl is coming for an inspection on day after tomorrow. Anyway, what you do is come to the shed along with your luggage tomorrow morning at about 0830. Once you are through, my vehicle will drop you at the station. So, see you tomorrow.

(The probationer comes out of the Sr. DMEís chamber and wearing a visibly dejected look, makes his way to the chamber of the AME. There, in all sincerity, he takes a 30-minute briefing on the shed and, to be fair to the probationer, follows it up with a conducted tour of the shed. In the shed, he meets a couple of supervisors and like on earlier such occassions, asks them questions and answers their queries ranging from his name to his native place and caste and the most vital of all aap SCRA se hain ki direct?)


(Scene 1)

(The same scene of Sr. DMEís chamber. It is 0835 in the morning. The Sr. DME is busy on the phone. The probationer enters the room, still dressed in the same grease-stained shirt. He has a thickish file in his hand. He takes a seat. The Sr. DME concludes his telephonic conversation.)

Prob: Good morning, sir ! This is the release form.

(The Sr. DME calls for his steno and asks him to type in all the details except the marks.)

Sr. DME: So, young man. Which railways have you been allotted?

Prob: Not yet allotted, sir.

Sr. DME: Strange. God knows why they take so much time these days. We used to get our zones before we passed out. Anyway, what all did you see in our shed?

Prob: Sir, I know the holding of the shed (He flips through a couple of semi-blank pages in his file), the important passenger links, outage and ineffective figures. Also sir, there are seven repair bays.

Sr. DME: That is all very nice. But you know, recently we have been facing a lot of failures due to Ďfuel oil pressureí drop cases. Are you aware of it? Have you tried to find out the causes?

Prob: (fidgeting uncomfortably and again flipping through his notes) Sir, I talked to the SSE about these failures. It seems that investigations are still on and nothing definite about these failures can be said at this point.

(The telephone rings. It is a call from the headquarters saying that the CMPE/Dslís shed-inspection has been postponed by a week. The Sr. DME calls the DME to give him this piece of information and asks him to convey it to the other officers as well.)

Sr. DME: So, what were we talking about? Achha, yes about your training. Can you tell me the difference between the 2400 HP and 3100 HP diesel locos?

Prob: Sir, basically the WDM2, WDM2A and the WDM2B are the 2400 HP locos whereas the WDM2C, WDG2 and the WDP2 are the 3100 HP ones.

Sr. DME: (visibly angry at the answer) And what about the fuel-efficient kit?

Prob: In fact sir, it is a very good thing. It increases the fuel efficiency of our locos. All the old locos should be fitted with this kit.

(At this point, a SSE enters the room)

SSE: Excuse me sir, woh jo kal we fitted the new Turbo on 18475, it has seized. It seems that the lubrication was not proper - rubber piece inside the pipe.

Sr. DME: It must be a manufacturing defect. You go and yes, tell the fellows not to do any further damage. Otherwise, the manufacturer will try to pass the buck on to us. I am coming in five minutes. (The SSE leaves. The Sr. DME once again turns his attention to the probationer.) It seems you are really enjoying (sarcastically) your probation. See, probation is the only time you can learn something. You will realise this later in your career.

(Probationer, remembering the third button rule of first month does not dare to look up. He steals a glance at his wrist watch. It is already 0920.)

Sr. DME: (Now softened) So, you are going to ABC shed next. From your answers, it appears that we have not taken proper care of your training here. I will call up Sr. DME/ABC and tell him that you are going there. He will arrange for your proper training. You may go now. Best of luck.

Prob: Thank you, Sir.

(It is 0930. The probationer rushes out of the Sr. DMEís room, clutching the all-important release letter in his hand. He manages to reach the station in time for his train. )


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