Amitendu Ray recalled the words of Pilu, his wife.
“Your job at the Port Trust is good ,but sans growth.We will not be able to survive with this meagre stipend of nine hundred rupees per month. We can’t even buy a spare pack of baby food for Mili! It’s high time, you look for a better opportunity.
The remote location of this house , the ambience will obstruct Mili’s growth.”
The words of Pilu, made Amitendu ponder for days. It was not that he did not want to bring a change in his lifestyle , yet moving out of his familiar comfort zone was challenging for him.
For a few days he remained a bit aloof for a few days , avoided being the ‘ moddhomoni ‘ at his favourite ‘rock addas’ and appeared to be busy in a new world of preoccupied thoughts.
It was a terribly hot day during the month of April in 1982 ,when Amitendu was attending the final round of interview in Delhi . He had corresponded to the advertisement published in ‘The Statesman’.He was appointed as a Superintendent at a new national level power plant located in Andhra Pradesh.
“I cannot locate this town named Ramapuram in the map of Andhra Pradesh , Amit . Where have you been posted ? This place seems too far . You have to commute formore than two days to reach this remote town .Is it in Madras? Please don’t go to this place.”
Amitendu’s mother tried to pursuade him to drop his plans to join the new company. Pilu took her husband’s side firmly.
With Pilu’s support, Amitendu took over his ‘ New Role’ or turned a’Newbie. By the end of September , he found himself alighting from the last train after travelling over thirty six hours to reach the Ramapuram station. Other than a troop of monkeys there was not a single human soul to welcome him.
Being a ‘newbie’ based project, nothing except long stretches of barren land was vissible to him for miles . He reached the colony in a rickety bus sans a road.
” The initial days were full of shock. Except for a handful of my colleagues, none could speak beyond Telugu ,the local language spoken here. The Sunday was the only market day. Until Pilu arrived with Mili a couple of months later, I shared a room with one of my colleagues named Subramaniam . We cooked and ate before and after duty hours.
During those initial days , I felt too nervous to attend office . But, luckily my colleagues were kind and helpful. They accepted a ‘newbie’ like me from proper Kolkata, into this remote township. We all were dedicatedly involved in making the ‘newbie’ project take shape.
“So Dadu , this was my experience as a ‘Newbie’about forty years ago.”
Amitendu was explaining to his grandson Tuhin, who wanted to know the meaning of ‘newbie’.
Thus, a bunch of ‘newbies’ managed to create a National Level powerplant very efficiently, in an absolutely new place staying together forever.
Notes _’moddhomoni’ _ The center of attention
Rock Adda_ Sitting together with friends for close discussions usually in one’s neighborhood.
Ramapuram_ A fictionalised town . The original name of the town is Ramagudam ,presently in Telengana State.
This story revolves around my father’s life. My father’s name is Sibdas Ray. I dedicate this story to my father on his 74th birthday . His birthday day is 21st January. He was amongst the first batch of trainee engineers to be posted in Ramagudam, a remote town in then Andhra Pradesh. My parents faced enormous hardships living in a totally contrasted environment to ensure both my sister and I have a bright future.
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