Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The rubber Washer... of thickness 10mm

Just 72 pins, remove & reinsert” said the man. The girl looked at him aghast with a question mark on her face. He searched his tool kit & thrusted a shining steel pin remover into the girls’ hand & got down from the coach no. DT-21.

The apprentice girl was working on that connector in the relay panel since 7’ o clock in the morning. Her fingers were aching for she marked, stripped & crimped the 72 cables of the connector with her tools. She had finished inserting the pins, closed the lock nut & was about to connect it to the panel when her Korean Team Leader climbed up the ladder & inspected her work. She had done a good job …but…..she forgot to insert a rubber washer inside the lock nut. A rubber washer all of 10mm thickness, used as a safety measure.

Two of her senior colleagues who were working on the other side of the coach came to her & one said...”why do you worry so much? Just loosen the lock nut, cut the washer, insert & close it off! Now have some coffee & relax”. The other looked a little worried but he smiled & gave her the cup of coffee he was about to have & they went down to have their coffee. “Oh!! Yes!” That was the simplest solution to her problem. What’s the big deal if the 10mm washer is cut & rejoined with some adhesive? She admired the Indian innovativeness...

The girl sat on the wooden work bench with the cup in her hand. The furnishing team members have finished their work & they were having coffee, sitting on the glittering stainless steel side seats of the coach they have fixed themselves. As she gazed at them, sipping her coffee, a strange image appeared in front of her eyes…….


The automatic door of the train opened. A crowd of people rushed into the train. The seats were already full. There were men & women on their way to work, few busy with their cell phones, few tapping away on their laptops, an old lady with a huge basket in her hand, a group of small boys armed with their cricket gears, another bunch of young girls & boys chatting loudly, laughing & sipping cool drink…............& .....................&......................suddenly there was a loud bang & a flash over…a fire broke out in the train……..the old woman’s basket has caught fire……..the kids bats were burning, the laptops & cell phones flashed & burst. There were shouts, & cries for help ……&…… helpless wails, the automatic doors couldn’t be opened & ……….the cause of the fire…..oh! the relay panel was burning!!!….must be short circuit due to some cable damage... may be due to the cable brushing with a little sharpness at the edge of the lock nut….may be the rubber washer was not strong enough………..

“Ooh!! NO!!!” cried the girl, her coffee cup fell down. The furnishing team turned & looked at her. “What happened dear girl?” asked a senior man. She shook herself out of the nightmare & said “Sorry Sirs, I am all right”. He went back to his work smiling, murmuring something to himself.

The time was 5 mins past 9’o clock. She loosened the lock nut. Took the pin remover & started removing the pins she has painstakingly inserted into the connector with a firm hand. She removed & inspected each crimped pin lest it doesn’t gets damaged while pulling it out. She pulled out all of them. Slided the 10mm thick rubber washer into the lock nut carefully. Drew the cable bunch out of it. Started re-inserting the pins into connector checking the pin assignment drawing with cocentration.

She now inserted the 72nd pin into the connector & tightened the lock nut. She gave out a sigh of relief . She heard a familiar voice calling out her name…it was her Korean Team Leader. He climbed the ladder, got into the coach, and looked at the connector. The girl expected him to do a thorough check of her work. but he didn’t bother to even touch the connector. “Time for lunch- break my good girl” he said to the girl smiling & then he called out to her senior colleagues “Mr. King cobra & Mr. Lord of Victory… time for lunch”.

“Yes sir” said the girl happily & got down the ladder jumping along with her team. Her face was lit up with a sense of relief or was it the light of self satisifaction?!

The girl had a hearty laugh in the canteen, telling her friends about the English translations of the Indian names done by her Korean Team Leader.

Back in the coach someone was smiling. It was a smile of joy & contentment.
The relay panel was smiling! Happy at the thoughtfulness, sincerity & responsible nature of it’s would be Engineer-in-charge.