A Journal Entry: 1435 hrs 02.03.2013
In the Gorakhpur - Trivandrum Rapti Sagar Express. The train is yet to leave Alleppey. Standing at the door of a sleeper compartment, I watch a bald, old porter in a red shirt and lungi taking my bicycle along to the Break Van at the rear of the train. I look at my bicycle, moving along with the man, clattering and shivering, but tame, tame like a baby elephant walking with its mahoot. I look my bicycle which has served me so well during the last one and a half years of stay at Alleppey. This inexplicable sorrow wells up, along with tender love for the bicycle. How silly I am! Yet how much I owe to that piece of steel and rubber ! The early morning rides on my bicycle is what kept me sane and happy in this place. Not a single tyre puncture all these months. Somebody stole the 6 speed gear unit one day, yet we managed to ride on.
My days at Alleppey is coming to an end. I will leave the service of Punjab National Bank after a stint of 32 years, 4 months and 28 days, on 28.03.2013. I have about 38 days leave left in credit, so I will absent myself on sick grounds for the next 3 weeks, report back on 25th March and work till 28th, to an unceremonious retirement. It is VRS, so there will not be any bank-sponsored tamashas; I have already warned my colleagues that I won't accept any parting gifts; maybe we will sit together and they might say how glad they were to have worked with me and I will make corresponding noises. It remains a fact though, that I had loved all my colleagues in this branch - we had the best working atmosphere, compared to all the branches I have worked in my long career. I will miss them.
The train leaves the station. The passing scenes are so familiar. Each is etched on my mind. I move from the known, the familiar to the unknown and unfamiliar. I do not know what future will hold for me; not that I knew, but like the train that now change tracks, I too am changing my worn tracks. I do not fear, I do not dread the new, but I calmly wait with an open mind to accept whatever life would bestow on me.
Balachandran V, in train from Alleppey to Trivandrum, 02.03.2013A