Hemant Kumar ’73
Sometimes time stands still. Some other times it flies. Yet some other times it flies in reverse gear (my apologies to Albert. Albert who? Einstein of course). On one such occasion I went back to the time when I had joined as SCRA at Jamalpur, only to be told by my worthy seniors that it was SCA out here. The ‘R’ had been dropped for some obvious reason that were not so obvious to me at that time, and I am none the wiser now.
I believe it was dropped because it referred to ‘Railway’ and was considered redundant, because if you were an apprentice at Jamalpur, where else could you be if not in Railways. Perfect logic. But then could someone enlighten me why we have DRMs and CAO(R)s? If it is felt that they have a public life too, my argument is that the apprentices too have to interact with people outside Jamalpur as well. The mystery clouds a little more. However, for reasons best known to some unknown person(s), they are still called SCAs at IRIMEE.
In our first few hours at Gymkhana, we came to know that SCAs become SAMs after passing out from IRIMEE. I thought that everybody got a chance to go to Uncle SAM after passing out, till the bubble burst, and was told that ‘SAM’ stood for “Special Apprentice Mechanical’. My confusion was confounded. Where did he (there were no lady-apprentice at that time) loose his ‘Class’ after passing out? I also failed to comprehend how come he was still an ‘Apprentice’ even after passing out from IRIMEE. If we think about redundant alphabets, then even ‘M’ is redundant, because this is the only scheme in India, and ‘Special Apprentice’ alone would have sufficed. Also, did we not refer to the electrical engineers who have passed out from this Institution as SAMs? Why not SAEs? If that were to confuse with the Society of Automobile Engineers, why not SALs? After all the Member Electrical is the ML. It would be convenient for other services too, if we were to open the scheme for them. They could be called SACs and SASs for Civil and S&T engineers.
Anyway, we continue to be SAMs and with good reason too, which I have realised in recent years. Granted that one has to be ‘Special’. Granted also that one has to refer to the ‘Apprentice’ in us (after all does one not keep on learning till the very end?). Also granted that one has to refer to ‘Mechanical’ as the service to which one is presently catering. It is very well that we have left the ‘Class’ back in the classrooms, or else we would have been referred to as SCAMs. God forbid. We already have so many of them (scams) in the recent years that we would not like to be associated with the name let alone seem to be supplementing them.
Suddenly my tube-light lit up. What fore sight our forefathers had. Had they not dropped the ‘R’ from ‘SCRA’, where would we have been? SCRAM…!