Monday, February 23, 2009

The Night Of the Destroyer!

Whooo...Sounds like the sequel to BatMan: The Dark Knight...Doesn't it ...but it is something as far away from the true meaning as Lord of the Rings from Mahabharat...I am talking about Mahashivaratri..the night when Shiva, the heretic married Parvati, the daughter of the king of the Himalayas. Atleast that is what was my impression till i did some google and gathered that legend was far removed from my childhood impressions. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Shivaratri for more info.The ritual of people taking out Shiva's barat on this festival made me believe wrong things. In fact I would have loved to believe that this is the night when Shiva consummated his marriage with Parvati. But that would have hurt some custodian of Indian culture who might wander on to my blog some years later. And since I would don't want create any ruckus ( I love peace), I avoided writing the same. Now I dont' think anybody would have any problem with that. Would they?
Its funny how I start writing about one thing and am tempted to jump to another. I wanted to tell everybody about my fast on shivaratri. Yes right! I kept a fast on Shivaratri and that too Nirjala ( without consuming even water). Shivaratri is in fact a misnomer for the ritual I observe since I break my fast after sunset. I should call it Shiv-Diwas. I have been doing for last 6 or 7 years. I first observed a fast on this day when India was to play the last and final one-day match with Pakistan in Sharjah and I so desperately wanted us to win that I promised to Shiva that if you work on our side I will stay hungry all day and offer you a load of fruits at night. And so it happened, we won. So I along with my freinds went to shiv-mandir in our campus ShopC and offered him 500 gms of fruits out of which 450 grams were eaten by us and rest by rats and ants. So began the tradition of me observing Shiv-Diwas. In fact my parents think that this is the best and only religious thing I do throughout the year and that it will save me from the fallouts of all the bad habits I have.

Now the story of todays fast. I had a night shift today and was free all day. Since there was nothing to do and I was anguished about something( I don't know what, honestly) I utillized the first half of the day by sleeping through it. When my body gave up and I couldn't lie down anymore I resorted to more productive things, like watching nasty movies and smoking. Don't be surprised, my father once told me that smoking, bettle-chewing and tobacco-chewing are permitted on fasts. In fact this was confirmed by self-declared heretic from my village who once came to our home in Dhanbad. So you see, I am still the seedha-saadha guy who follows what his elders say. Its another matter that my style of fast is in total opposition to the original spirit of holding a fast. A fast is meant to cleanse one's body by giving one's digestive system some rest and purify one's mind by thinking about god. In fact a milder form of fast holds that one should have only fruits and stay away from aphrodisiacs ( if you don't know what it means, Google, but don't ask me coz this blog is not meant for discussing things that condemn our culture). At evening I went to a temple nearby, bowed my head before the God and broke my fast with a vegetable chop. So much so for holding a fast.

Anyways I just wanted to say that I just wanted to write down anything for my blog( it feels so good) and bore you all. May be I'll come up with a better story next time. Bubye!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What a Day to Start Blogging

This is the one of the last things I ever expected to do in my life.Yeah Right ...I never thought I would ever blog given the shy person I thought of myself. It is not that it came suddenly. I had been pretty impressed by Smarak's blogs ( an assistant commissioner in IT now) and CMT was no less impressive. However today I saw Biyani ( another fellow GT) writing a blog. And I was almost shocked. If he could write so brilliantly why couldn't I give it a try (this is not a negative reflection on Biyani ;) but on myself ).


So after going through much brainstorming I decided on a name of my blog, Onaseriousnote.blogspot.com and tried to register but this name had already been taken...Whoops I did not think it was a such a common phrase ...nevertheless I kept trying and used many other similar sounding or similar meaning phrases to register but all of them were already taken...then I used my age-old technique which I fall back on whenever I am short of words...I consulted the The Thesaurus...but no encouraging results ...anything I tried, from "thoughts" to "reflections" to "intellection" met with the same fate and everytime Google gave me the crappy suggestion of appending my name to it. Now I had no doubt that that mind-boggling statistics on bloggers were so true. After being tired of spending two hours in looking for a name for my blog, I gave up and decided on what you have visited just now. Atleast I got something to start with...not a bad idea at all.

Well during all these two hours I was sitting in my control room chair with my Head and Sr. manager sitting on my head and giving all kinds of freaky ideas on what should I do in coming weeks. Not to mention all kinds of phone calls,information and queries from people in substations. Somehow I just created my the blog site and left it for a lunch.

My lunch was like the meal that is given to a goat about to be sacrificed. I had my lunch and was smoking along a friend Arindam (If you want to know more about him..refer to the great scholarly article written by Smarak,"Ari and the Bitch") when he got a call from his plant (Coke Plant ) saying there was a fire incident. He panicked but I calmed him down saying he is not going to do fire-fighting anyway so he must relax and finish off the cigarette first. He asked me casually if I would like go along. I said Yes, why not. After all it had been more than year since I visited coke plant and hadn't even met my mentor ( he is Arindam's Head) for a long time. This sounded like a good opportunity to clear all backlogs. But I had little idea of what was in store.

So we reached coke Plant. I almost felt I was going there for the first time in my life notwithstanding the fact that I visited it numerous times during my training period at Tata Steel. After picking up safety helmets and goggles from his office we rushed to the area of incident. It was a dusty part called Wagon Tippler. For the uninitiated, it is a place where a huge machine grips a rail wagon filled with coal, coke or anything else and turns it upside down to empty it. While we were walking towards the area I could feel the damage done to me by my current job at LDC ( means Load Despatch Centre). I was shaky and was walking slower than Arindam. I was apprehensive of almost everything down there and didn't even notice a train engine moving slowly towards me at a distance of 3 meters. From a distance we could see the cars of VPs and Chiefs near the site and two fire engines too. I was feeling like a latecomer in an important corporate meeting. My mentor too was standing shouting on everybody he could see. He was shocked to see me too and didn't know how to react. Then it came back to him and he smiled at me. After exchanging niceties, we moved closer to the site. It wasn't the wagon tippler that had caught fire, but the conveyor belts below it that carry away dumped coke or coal. The approach way was through a narrow staircase and few fire fighters were already down there doing their job. All we could see was smoke belching out of the door to the staircase. Everybody's CO detector ( a minuscule device to detect the presence of Carbon Monoxide, poisonous and inflammable) was beeping. But they didn't had time for it. After half an hour water supply was stopped and one man came out of the door. He was drenched with sweat, hi s face covered with gas mask , oxygen cylinder on his back, clothes black with coke dust. He didn't even had the sense or the strnegth to take off his mask. As people helped him remove his equipments, he was gasping for breadth and smiling. After all he and his collegues were able to put out the fire in an environment where people hate to go even in normal situation. He was followed by two other colleagues similarly dressed and in same condition. They were the heroes of the day, atleast to me. I don't know what it was, but I was ashamed of something. I wasn't doing anything, just an onlooker.In fact I wasn't supposed to do anything, after all I was a manager and that too in a different area. But there was this feeling of being a useless guy without any purpose. These guys just risked their lives to do their job. And here I am, getting paid for sitting in a control room looking at a control screen and making phone calls, giving instructions to others. I know that I create more value in my job but that is not enough of a consolation. I need to do something better. Damn!

After a while my mentor, a Chief, Arindam, me and some other persons decided to go down the stairs and have a look at the damage done. It was pitch black darkness inside. In fact only the first 3 persons could find their way down with a torch. I had to stop in the middle because I could not see or feel the next flight of stairs. Only after another man came down with a torch that I moved further. After the stairs ended I landed right in the middle of 5 inch thick mud created by coal dust and water. In there it was difficult to breath, mostly because the fire depleted the oxygen and filled the space with CO. We stayed in there for half an hour trying to figure out ways to revive the system as soon as possible. Then we came out. I left for LDC( my office) after having coffee at Arindam's office.

I intended to spend no more than 15 minutes at LDC to check emails since my duty was already over at 2 PM. But only after 10 minutes I saw the lights flickering. In our job, flickering of lights means headache for few hours. The very next moment alarms blared. A 132 KV transmission line tripped off, probably because some bird dropped some wire on it or some tree branch came too near to that line. It could be n number of reasons, but for us it only meant one thing. It destabilized a 120 MW generator ( enough to feed two towns of size of Jamshedpur), hundreds of phone calls and my 10 minute halt getting extended to 3 hours duty.

Now you can understand the meaning of this blog's title. I never knew my first day at blogging would be so eventful nor that writing a blog takes this long. Anyway I hope I will get time to post my next blog soon enough.