TODAY -

CRT TV - Our Travelling Companion

Kamal Baruah *



Once upon a time, Television set wasn’t so flat and as thin as nowadays. Have today’s generation ever wondered what difficulties were facing by families of transferable job for carrying a TV set while moving on posting.

Before Plasma, LCD and OLED displays dominated, the Cathode Ray Tube Television had served viewers well until 2008. Perhaps it needed a professional wrestler to lift up the stairs that also took huge living space of 1 BHK rented home. The huge CRT was a part and parcel of being a family at home because watching TV was the only entertainment that gives good wholesome fun.

The unexpected transfer order left us unhappy. We were moving to western peninsula over 3000 km, the second longest train routes in India. Every serviceman is worried about travelling while on transfer. So am I.

I was quite tense over the journey beg and baggage, my first posting after marriage with our one year old daughter. We had to carry everything from kitchen utensils to beading and clothes. They were in constant worry, for us as well as for our kid.

There was another valuable package i.e. my Sony’s Trinitron which was also our companion wherever I moved on posting that occupied the half of a berth. We had to fight desperately with TTE to keep the TV Set moves along the journey.

My bike and two bulky luggages were already booked in advance and carried in Brake Van. While water bottles were precious we had a baby for three days journey that required milk to food for her.

Pantry car was our only hope throughout the journey. Nowadays milk for child on train is just a tweet away. Shortly after placing the train on platform, commuters struggled to enter through the narrow door.

There were suitcase, boxes and trunks carried in passenger compartments. We somehow loaded all baggage but one left. That was the 21” TV which did not go through the door. A thought came into my mind by taking it out from the carton. One of three reserved seats was fully loaded over our head. As usual the train left Guwahati Railway station in the afternoon by an hour late.

The train journey is always beautiful you never know who your companion would be but it’s a joy of train travel – meeting people from all walks of life. Although the train had moved across northern India towards western Saurashtra, interestingly food stuffs remained same inside pantry car.

They were indeed tasteless but couldn’t be refused for survival. The train begins its journey alongside the Brahmaputra for some fabulous views of paddy field.

It’s long been a tradition for travellers to throw coins into the river. Three nights journey was like another continental journey that we could have travelled entire Europe. But India is different because it’s a huge country.

Shortly we left Assam border at Srirampur, we saw they were all so different picture yet so similar. Those people looked similar to us but with a different ascent.

Any Assamese can follow their language. At NJP, every passerby used to have a familiar taste of dry roti-sabji with egg omelette and we went for those lines of hawkers selling underneath of a hand lamp in the evening.

Those were my favourite time during journey. The train went through Bengal-Bihar border at the chicken neck. We saw lines of trees of mango near Maldah. In the morning, fresh Guava welcomed us at Mughal Sarai.

It was full moon and you will get a chance to see the marble structure of Taj in all its splendour that glorified in natural light while passing by. A huge station in the next evening with clean environment at Ahmadabad had changed our mind.

The facilities at the station were praiseworthy as even baby foods served at the station. Seeing Gujarati’s meals of Dhokla and Papri, strangely enough, that made me hungry. So I went down and brought some lunch.

The landscape turned into a vast, barren desert. We felt almost like transported to a different planet. The train passed the dark night and I found myself hoping of reaching destination in the morning as train normally runs late in my state.

But the TTE had another opinion; it would be on right time 00:34. I synchronized my clock with the time table. The stop time was just for one minute. As we passed Hapa, I started taking out luggage near the door.

Alas, the train finally pulled into our stop at sharp right. I quickly took out our luggage one after another in a matter of one minute. Soon I placed my last package CRT on the platform, the train had whistled. I heaved a sigh of relief when we safely landed at the lonely station in the midnight hours.

We were only passengers that the train had to stop for us. I was sick and tired of all from rotten foods at journey. I soon realised that a tea would be too good for refreshment.

We were occupying a long bench, stretching our legs and sipping garam chai at Jamnagar. A lot can happen over three overnight journey to anyone lifetime and the twist of my journey had also got surprise ending.

The TTE had finally arrived saying “Kem chho fouji” and pointing to the TV set for checking RR at luggage booking. Although I had every confidence in my travel warrant where an entry was already made for the same, yet I frantically searched for my ticket to the officer. It is mazama (I am fine) all the way.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a former Air Warrior and currently working for SBI Dispur. He can be reached at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 23, 2020.



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