Bombay Central: A Love Story
Interview with a Bombay Central ticket inspector
Today, the retired employees of Bombay Central Station in India keep in touch by messaging using WhatsApp groups. They talk almost everyday to each other, wherever they are in the world. Their love of working together on the indian railway has not stopped, even after retirement.
One of our customers told us that their father had worked at Bombay Central Station in India for his whole career. Whilst he was visiting England on holiday, we interviewed him to learn more about life at the Bombay Central station. Meet Mr. Gajendra Amratlal Parekh.
So Gajendra, when did you start working for the Indian Railway, tell us your story?
It was Valentine’s day, 1975, Gujarat, India. I was 18 years old and my father, a loyal railway worker, even during the strikes, was allowed to bring his son to join the railways. After a month’s training and passing my exams I started working as a junior ticket collector and was posted to Bombay Central from my home town of Ahmedabad. This is the beginning of my love story and career with the Indian Railways.
What are your early memories?
The steam from the trains, awaaz of the station. Back then, people used to sleep overnight in the station. For my uniform I wore white trousers, shirt, cap and a name badge. I lived with my friend in his office and we ate gujarati thali most days. My treats were mangos and I also loved shikand. I was first posted to one of the 5 gates where people had to present their tickets to get to the train. I had a ‘double nockri’!, I worked double shifts, 7 days a week.
We heard you found love working in the railways?
Yes, I met my wife who was working at another ticket office. A love marriage, we have two boys now and one is now your neighbour here in Harrow.
What magic moments do you remember?
Hema Malini! She used to come by, we had VIP rooms and many actors, business people, their agents become regular passengers on the trains departing Bombay Central. Many movies have been made at the station and I was lucky enough to see many being filmed.
How has the station changed over the years?
There have been many changes. It’s quieter now that the steam trains have gone, fewer employees as technology and machines now dispense tickets, digital departure boards are in place and there is even a McDonalds.
My role developed and I progressed with it over time, I became senior employee and developed my team. For one year I did the job that my father did and I went on the train from Bombay to Ahmedabad, 9 hours each way and this allowed me to be back to see my brothers and family.
Most of the time I stayed in Bombay where my best moment is the entire journey with Bombay Central itself.
What would be your advice for a young 18 year old starting work at Bombay Central today?
The customer is everything, be honest, hard working and provide a service.
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story. We particularly thank you for your suggestions to our place here in Harrow and we look forward to sharing these with our customers soon.
Watch his retirement video here.
What a Happy Journey!