12.13.2009

Pointlessly interesting

It was nearing five twenty. A ten minute ride was more than enough.. I hurriedly pulled on a tee and my faithful pair of jeans. I was on my way to this rather embarrassing thing called lab class, necessitated by the awesome faculty we'd got for our electronic lab sessions in S3.

The key was in ignition and on kickin the starter, dad's old warhorse the CD100SS roared sputtered to life. I downed the visor of the huge helmet I was wearing (Trivandrum cops were now in the no-helmets mode for the past one week) and started off. I made it slow this time.. going leisurely at under 40kmph, singing Stairway To Heaven to myself, and trying to imagine how Vincent in Pulp fiction must've been feeling when he drives his car, havin taken coc, to take Mrs. Wallace out for the evening :D

Past the hustle bustle, going up the flyover over the Vanchiyoor bridge aka Uppalaamoodu paalam.. I spotted something. Hurriedly braking and takin a sharp right, I let gravity guide me down the road.. past the smelly fish-hawkers' place and the various shops that adorned the side of the road. At the bottom of the slope, I saw what I was looking for. I pulled over, turned the bike off and took off my helmet.

One of my most familiar and relished sounds.. the chugga chugga chugg of the diesel warhorse of IR, the good old WDM2 idling at the TVC home signal with the afternoon passenger from Kottayam hit my eardrums. To anyone who must have been following me on the road must have quite arrived at a certain conclusion regarding my sanity now.. I was standing, just a couple of metres from the tracks, watching the 'engine'. I knew what I was doing, though! I was doing precisely that. The passenger was no doubt, waiting for the outgoing TVC-MAS express, which, I knew was coming in a few minutes now.

Here I was, in the evening sun, enjoying the breeze and just watching a loco idle away. I had nothing else in mind right then.. Exams were over, lab exams were still weeks away, and I had nothing to do for college the following day. Joblessness at its height... and under such beautiful circumstances, even a thing as pointless as standing by the side of a road, watching a train feels insanely fulfilling.

A short toot from the distance told me that I was in for another sight.. Slowly, the beast came into view. A brand new WAP4, #22806, hauling the late afternoon superfast to Chennai.. The loco pilots exchanged a wave and the beast passed me, its traction motors grinding away loudly while it accelerated.. the thud thud at the rails and the onlookers at the doors.. the last coach was easily doing 40 when it passed by.
Now the fellow waiting leaned on the horn and departed in classique diesel style.. the looooong horn, a tug at the coaches and the rhythmic beat of chug chug chug, slightly smoking away.. The chugging grew a bit faster and the loco disappeared out of sight.. People were already waiting at the doors to get down at the station and continue living their own little busy lives. Time.. business.. strange.

I took the U-turn, went back up the road and continued.. I was late for the class, but I was not complaining. It was back to working away at the world of resistors, capacitors, bootstraps and schmitt triggers.

Being 'crazy' over lots of things makes you insane in the eyes of people.. but it makes your life interesing. You enjoy doing something which otherwise means nothing to people, which they would just pass of as something part of the city or the world. They gain nothing from it.. and you lose nothing, but you gain the little pleasure you derive from watching a robot work, building a linux system from scratch, watching in dismay as an IC dies drawing a lot of amperes, or looking at and feeling a 3000hp beast chug off while its V-16 engines beat away in harmony.

Maybe I'm just crazy. But I'm not complaining :)