Kundu-babu continued working even after retirement (Part-I)He had joined Railways as Assitant Station Master at an age of 21. When he had joined, people used to join lower-level posts in Railways much younger. But he completed his Graduation and only then he joined service. So, compared to others, he was much more qualified.
He was respected for his education. Further, he proved to be very laborious. His education and diligence made him an asset of Eastern Railway. Slowly, he rose through the ranks. After spending more than 35 years in service, he became the Station Superintendent of a very important station in Birbhum District of West Bengal. But his name was known all over Howrah Division.
His wife used to state that Kundu-babu was married to Railways. He never used to take leave. During every festival, Kundu-babu remained present in the station to supervise the train movement and commercial activities in the station, when most of his colleagues took leave. He never bothered about the working hours. After the duty hours, he used to sit with his reliever Station Master, other staff and continued guiding them. At the same time, his wife continued to struggle in the Railway Quarter with their only son. This continued year after year.
But time never waits. Ultimately the day of the retirement came very close. Kundu-babu was emotionless. His wife was ecstatic. Their only son, by that time, was well-settled in Kolkata. Kundu-babu had promised his wife that immediately (the next day) after retirement, both of them would visit a popular tourist place (the name of which I have forgotten).
Finally, the day arrived. Kundu-babu went to the station-building from the Railway Quarter located just outside the station premises. He worked just like other days. Many people, many Station Masters, many staff and even his seniors came to meet him. Kundu-babu talked to all and accepted all good wishes.
At 6 p.m. the duty hour was over. The relieving Station Master came. Kundu-babu handed over the charge for the last time. He drew a line on the Train Movement Register to indicate that his duty was over. He signed the Cash Register. He also handed over the Goods Booking Register to his reliever.
His reliever took over the charge. Kundu-babu was taking another cup of tea with the on-duty staff. Suddenly the telephone rang. The devastating news came.
(To be continued at Part-II)