The Mystery Girl

                                               THE       MYSTERY     GIRL

                                              (Manohar Naidu, Virginia, USA)

Still there was  time to chug out the engine . I was, Sr. Driver with Central Railways. Adjusted and cleaned  my pair of glasses, looked out ahead and switched on the engine light to check its serviceability in the pitch of darkness all around. Looked  at all instruments and was awaiting time indicator to show 05.00 when I would look for green signal on outer and  blow the  whistle.

Week more to retire, I was most experienced driver with incident free career though started as Fireman. I was always joyous in my nature and I was liked by one and all.  Satisfied with family life, I and my wife Rosie were looking forward post retirement to visit our son in States.

I had been always an alert and conscientious in performance of my duties.  I was rather role model amongst my junior colleagues.

Passed the outer signal.  I was  required to gain speed after crossing the manned railway crossing which was about two kilometers. Just short of half a kilometer of this crossing, I peeped out on track ahead with powerful head -light. I slowed down the engine, switched off the light and again peeped out.  I saw some  light swinging across the track about 3 ft high. I had already crossed installed green signal, but what is this  light swinging across middle of the track? I didn’t want to take any chance.  

I further reduced the speed to minimum,  slowly applying the brakes.  The light was coming closer and closer and suddenly moved towards right out of the track. The train stopped about 50 feet after crossing the flashing light which was dangling and moved out.  

I alerted the guard and my assistant, and stood on the steps of engine with amazement.  I saw one person running with  light coming towards me.

She was young girl in her track suit holding the  torch light in her hand.  She was almost exhausted and shouted that someone has removed the fish-plates of track ahead.  She went on repeating.  I got down and decided to inspect the track ahead. Just 200 ft ahead I saw what the girl had said.  Shocked. I used my cell phone and informed control room and the guard had also come.  The gate man on duty also joined us.

When I came back to  engine, I looked for the girl.  She was no where to be seen.  Query was made with the gate man.  He said that one young girl had come and alerted me and he got busy with control room.  When she left and where she left he did not know. All the action was taken by me and duty Guard as per the rules and protocol and traffic was resumed after one hour. I thanked the Almighty and also the unknown mystery girl who averted the catastrophe involving so many passengers. This accident would have been a serious blot on my spotless career ending in a weeks time.  But who was THE  MYSTERY GIRL ? 

I retired from service shortly afterwards.  Spent couple of months with family moving around in India. Back home I engaged myself in computer classes to keep self busy. Went to States with wife and spent six months joyful good time over there with son and his family. Also became fb addict. Posted many of my life experiences on fb with my expressive natural writing skill which I had been always longing to do. I posted the the last incident of my career also to find out the MYSTERY GIRL.

One fine morning, back  home  in India, while enjoying the tea with all family members, I saw a smart looking girl about 22 years old in jeans with matching polka dot top at our door. Her face was glowing with fair complexion, sweet smile with dimple on right cheek, curly hair and dreamy eyes.  In all she appeared to be well educated , chic and sophisticated.

She said “ Mr. Joe Martin, retired Sr. Loco Driver, Good Morning. A very Happy New Year. May I come in.” I said,” Oh!, Sure, same to you and join us.”  She introduced herself as Anamika. She  further said “ I read your post on fb and I am that “MYSTERY GIRL” you are looking for. “   I and all family members got flummoxed and it was most astonishing to me.  Anamika paused. She was offered tea.

She continued.“I stay in the third floor of the flat which is located very close to railway crossing you mentioned in your life incident on fb. From my bed/study room, the gate and the good stretch of track is visible. Even the slightest sound of crossing vehicle is easily heard. I was doing my post graduation of “Investigative Journalism” and I used to do lot of late reading.  I got used to various trains passing on adjoining line.  Morning train which leaves the station at 5 o’clock, was my’ waking alarm’ for my jogging routine.  

On that particular night, I got up little early due to some sound emitting from track. I saw some people near the track and assumed that some work must be going on.  I got ready with jogging suit , shoes and a torch for routine jogging and left the house”.

She paused. Took some sips of tea which had already gone cold. We were numbed with her narration. My eyes were wide open.  She continued. “ When I passed through wicket gate meant for pedestrians since main gate was closed, I thought of seeing the track from where the sound was coming. I flashed the torch light .To my horror I saw the fishplates removed and laying out.  Immediately, I rushed to gatekeeper and alerted him.  Then I proceeded towards the direction of train. I saw my watch, It was past five.  I rushed farther away on track and saw the bright light of the train.  I started waving and flashing my torch light left and right to alert the driver.  Fortunately. the train stopped well ahead after crossing me and I spoke to engine driver about missing fishplates and left the place  in the darkness, back to my home.” She paused. Took out the kerchief , puffed her face and shifted her curly hair  coming over her eyes.

All family members were looking at each other with amaze and excitement on twist and revelation of event. I was still sitting in the couch and looking at Amanika. I got up and with a grin and smile on the face, extended my hand towards Anamika and said “ Thanks ANAMIKA. Ultimately, I could find the MYSTERY GIRL.  But tell you the truth, this incident had never occurred . It is all concocted by me for fb story.”

Anamika shot back , giggled and said  “ So also…..  I am not the MYSTERY GIRL  Mine is also  first half  of your  concocted story.

This was part of my PG Investigative Journalism thesis. I carried out thorough search with authorities concerned on your post and became the MYSTERY GIRL myself. The whole drawing room busted with hearty laughs and hugging each other for dramatic outcome of fb posting .



             A White Stick Beckoning  A Walking Stick

                                               (Manohar Naidu, Virginia, USA)

         My father left for heavenly abode at the age of eighty six years.  One of his belongings “A Walking Stick”, which was carefully chiseled wooden stick with curved angle used as support  for walking, I kept with me, perhaps due to emotional attachment, I had with my father and as well as a memorabilia.   I always remembered that, when last time I  met him, he was 81 years old, and was not using the walking stick.

        I am an early  morning walker.  After becoming plus seventy, during walk, I was  losing self-confidence due to diminishing eyesight, slow reaction coupled with numerous potholes, open manholes and army of stray dogs on streets and on uneven footpaths. They were potential dangers to my routine health care which I was doing at twilight of my life.  And this time, the walking stick which I had kept for years with me, become a real dear  and protective companion to me for my daily walk.

       One day I missed my morning walk and decided to compensate with a stroll to nearby park in the evening.  It was around 5.30 with mild cool air . Park was bustling with activity by old and young alike, lot of children playing and ladies attending Lord Hanumam Temple in the park. I was very happy with whole surrounding, got  settled myself on the cement concrete bench and kept my memorabilia on right side, touching the bench and ground. Just then, a lady came near my bench with a boy about  ten years old and made the boy to sit near by me. She also told and instructed the boy that  she will be back as soon as arati (salutation) is over in the temple.  The boy was blind and was holding a white stick between his knees. The white stick was a support to locate obstacles and also an indicative of his physical visual  impairment.  With his sixth sense, he could feel that someone is sitting next to him,  that is me.

        The boy suddenly asked me. “ Uncle what game they are playing ?”

        I looked in front and told him “ One boy is blindfolded with a handkerchief and he is required to touch other boys around. The boy who gets caught, will be  blindfolded  and the game goes on.

       ” The boy was very much excited.  I saw him searching his pocket.  Took out his handkerchief , tied around his eyes , blindfolded himself  and rushed towards ground, saying “ Its very easy game for me”.

        His white stick fell, leaned and got stuck on my chiseled walking stick, beckoning  “ Will You Help Me”.  I was awakened .The symbolic message was crystal  clear to me.

        Temple bells stopped ringing and arati ended. The lady  took her boy from playground along with his white stick.

       Moment I reached home, I phoned  a voluntary organisation and   pledged  myself for  “ EYE DONATION“ posthumously .  My very humble and the modest contribution to humanity.


True story scripted for readers

                                                              REVELATION       OF      HALF     TRUTH

                                                                  (Manohar Naidu, Virginia, USA)

         It was yet another transfer.  It was expected having spent stipulated period at a tenure place of posting.  This was with a icing on a cake.  To my home town Nagpur with promotion. Though Nagpur was not a new place, but three decades of gap and new locality, new office environment was a big change. The most urgent task was getting servant maid in the locality.

           But to my surprise, the very next  day of shifting to new apartment, I found my wife Chitra talking to a woman. She was Kantabai our new maid. Tall, about 45 years of age, neatly dressed,spoke clear Hindi with Marathi accent. During conversation, it was revealed to my wife that she is already working in 5 houses and stays nearby juni basti – a walking distance away. On questioning about her family she told that her husband is mason, skilled in polishing the floor tiles with his own machine. But now he is sick for last couple of months. She had two  older daughters and one youngest son. All  studying. This was her brief bi-data. She was employed.

          Kantabai proved good in her assigned   tasks besides being punctual and clean without taking leave or requesting for advance. Chitra became quite intimate with her and she was given additional work of cooking.  Chitra was particular in giving blouse piece and saree on occasion on festival.  She had also promised to visit her house in near future and attend her daughter’s marriage whenever it takes place. Kantabai was also responsive to Chitra’s needs beyond routine work.

             In couple of years I retired from service and settled in Nagpur.  My only son had gone to US for higher studies and subsequently got employed in IT multinational company to his satisfaction.  Chitra was feeling too lonely and intense desire to meet her only son and looked for suitable match for him. In the meanwhile we got our VISA to US and left India for six months.

            When back home, we inquired about Kantabai, our immediate requirement. We were told that she is not seen around after the death of her husband recently.  Chitra was shocked. Kantabai  had very closely associated with house chores for years We decided to visit her house to convey our condolence. The very next day we visited  Kantabai’s  house in locality with wall to wall old dwellings. We were wel -comed with greeted hands by young girl in her first room. Room was well maintained with clean cushions on wooden three piece sofa .Walls were distempered with pleasing shade.  Kitchen shelf was visible with shining utensils placed neatly.

           We expressed our sorrow. She wiped her moist eyes and got composed. We assured her all the help in near future, if need be. She introduced her daughters Lata and Suman and son Suresh, all were studying.  She had quit working. We returned with heavy heart pondering over her fate and enroute bought vegetables for home.

          Years passed. Our visits to US became often along with Chitra’s anxiety of son’s marriage. One fine morning we saw Kantabai at our door greeting us with folded hands. She appeared fresh and  rejuvenated  than years back we saw her. Chitra was happy to see her and ushered her in drawing room sofa, putting her arms on the visitor’s shoulder. Kantabai opened her bag and took out one envelop gave it to my wife with folded hand and said “ My eldest daughter Anjali”s marriage invitation. You had promised to attend.”

             Chitra took the invitation in her hand so graciously remembered and given. But with her sharp memory she shot back, looking deep into her eyes “Kanta, if I remember correctly your eldest daughter’s name is Lata and second is Suman. But who is Anjali ?”

            Kantabai gave a impish smile. With a pause she said.  “That was HALF TRUTH, I had lied when I came to work in your household years back just to grab the job urgently needed.  In fact I have two more older daughters.  I was afraid that I may not be employed if I say I have five children”. She sipped  water from glass kept on side table. I looked amazed towards Chitra.

             Kantabai continued.  “The truth is,  I was married at  a very early age of sixteen years to a man 12 years older than me .  He was my elder sister’s husband. She died with one month infant baby girl and  another two year infant girl. .My sister whom I loved like a mother, took a promise, that I shall look after two kids during her dying hours with clasping hand in my hand.  Things were comfortable for twenty five years. Then he became bed ridden due to paralysis. All children toiled hard while working part time with nursing homes, taking tutions and taking advantage of free education in college, attended libraries and took guidance from all possible sources.  All are graduates now. Eldest one Anjali and the next Meera are in government jobs. Youngest just cleared his engineering degree. Lata and Suman have passed bank exams and awaiting appointment letters.”

               She paused again. “ Anjali and Meera still do not know that I am her aunt.”

            We praised the struggle and   sacrifices  made by her.  Gifted a blouse piece and Rs 101/- as a token of good luck .She knelt down , touched our feet and left. I kept my right arm on Chitra’s shoulder while looking at Kantabai who had surprised us with   THE REVELATION OF HALF TRUTH  walking away.

Published in

It was yet another..

Truth alone prevails…

                                            CONFESSION OF A COP   —   SATYAMEV  JAYATE       

                                                              (Manohar Naidu,Virginia,USA)

              On entering my drawing room, I relaxed in a couch. It was not busy day in the court. Perhaps, on this auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan,many lucky people wanted to celebrate the occasion with their siblings. My maid brought hot cup of tea with some biscuits and kept on my side table along with postal letters of the day. I just shuffled dak and one pink envelop attracted my attention. The beautiful and familiar handwriting could not hide the identity of sender, though mischievously written on bottom left corner “Guess Who ?” This guess work I was doing for more than 20 years now, in each and every letter. He was my brother TARUN. The address was very neatly written  Ms.TARUNA RAI,  District & Sessions Judge, Bunglow No.10, Civil Lines, Lapata Gunj, Ujjwal Pradesh,990 099. It was sheer excitement for me to get letter from only younger brother on this auspicious day.

                                                                                                         8th Aug.2013

           My dear respected Didi,

           Pranam.  I am sure, you will get this letter on right occasion and time when you are relaxing, taking tea with your favourite  glucose biscuits, and of course day of Raksha Bhandan. Thanks for constant blessings and prayers, now I am promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police. To-day, I am connecting dots and dashes of family. When I was just 12 years old – too young to understand life and society, we lost our mother. She was shocked by the judgement delivered by Hon.High Court against you when you were 22 years old and pursuing/preparing for IAS exams. Accused , the son of a prominent lawyer with political and government connections, was left scot-free from charges of rape and assault on you just because of absence of evidence,witness coupled with weak and saleable public prosecutor. Our late father,though respected and honorable  school teacher, could not pursue the case and became bedridden. You had put up brave fight with destiny as BRAVEHEART to become District Judge and sacrificed your valuable years for me.  You are my sister by birth, foster mother by destiny and above all, God for me. Please read carefully the following:

                                       (1)        An Extract of News Paper Report         Dt. 26/1/2012.

“ …..Shri Gyan Prasad, State Minister for Home, was found dead on arrival at Kitpur Rly Stn. He was accompanied by personal police bodyguard TARUN RAI, Sr.Inspector….”

                                      (2)       An  Extract of News Paper Report        Dt.   1/ 3/2013

“…… After thorough investigation,into the cause of  death of Late Shri Gyan Prasad, former Home Minister, by all concerned authorities, it is concluded by the government that no evidence was found of foul play and it was accidental due to overdose of sleeping pills and seizure of heart while sleeping……”

          This bastard (sorry for professional lingo) Gyan Prasad, is non other than who shattered your life ,destroyed aspirations of school teacher and was cause of our mother’s untimely death. Today, I  CONFESS  that I murdered Gyan Prasad, in train with overdose of sleeping pills and then slowly gagged him to death, destroying all evidences and creating scene .My profession, skill to destroy and create evidence helped me to avenge prestige and honour Didi you had suffered years back. The fire was burning since then in my heart for years and all rakhis, still preserved, always reminded me, the unfinished task ahead.  THE BLINDFOLDED STATUE  WITH SYMBOL OF  JUSTICE, I BEG AND SEEK  PARDON. SATYAMEV  JAYATE   (Truth Alone Prevails).

With Love yours


An inspired fiction from real life events…

                 GRATITUDE EXPRESSED

My daughter Jaya had come on vacation from States with her family – husband, a grown up son and a daughter. She expressed her desire to re-visit Juhu Beach with her children.  It was almost 25 years back, at Juhu Beach  she was swept into the sea due to high tide, when she was just 15 years old.She had gone with her friends after finishing her board exams to have fun at sea shore. She had entered the water,as the waves retreated and she further went into the sea. She was not knowing swimming. High rising tide, tossed her.  Other girls started shouting “ Bachao..Bachao (Help..Help). There was no lifeguard seen around. Suddenly, one girl, who appeared to be foreigner, swimming around, rushed towards my drowning daughter, caught hold of my daughter’s long hair, pulled her out to safe area,pumped  out the salt water from her stomach, with her quick and trained maneuver.   It was only because of fast and prompt act of gratitude of this unknown angle, my daughter was saved.

           This incident was a turning point for Jaya. She enrolled herself for swimming classes and  by the time she was 3rd year Engineering College, she was University champion. She had a inner desire to express God and as well to unknown foreigner, her gratitude for saving her life from almost drowning. Various options were discussed, and finally she volunteered to work 2 hours every Sunday at Juhu Beach as LIFE GUARD. In next 2 years,she could save seven lives. Later she  was married and joined her husband in US.  Her love and zeal for swimming never diminished. She continued her swimming activity but not as LIFE GUARD, since in U.S. all public pools and sea shores are provided with licensed lifeguards.  Jaya encouraged and ensured that her children are fully trained in swimming and champion in their schools in U.S. and always reminded her children, the importance of saving human life.

            Today, she was again at Juhu Beach  with her children in their swim suit. While sitting on sand, it appeared that Jaya was lost in old euphoria and sweet memories of past.  Son Daksh and daughter Mehak had come out of water and were drying their body with towel.  Suddenly panic-stricken shout was heard “ BACHAO…… BACHAO . Jaya looked at Daksh and Daksh looked into mother’s eyes and understood her silent but expressive ordain.  He rushed and leaped into the sea, Mehak followed to assist him and caught hold of drowning girl and brought her to safe place on sand. One more life was saved.  As usual there was no lifeguard around . Jaya hugged both her children with tears of happiness and thanked them for their act of bravery towards society.   GRATITUDE EXPRESSED… and carried forward.

How jumping the queue is not always beneficial…

      Jumping the  “Queue”

  IT was a bad day for me. Recently, a new store had come up nearby, just a walking distance from my residence.  As a promotional gimmick, the store was selling many items – buy one, get one free.  This included buy one litre milk for Rs.30/- and get one litre pouch free. It worked out to be Rs.15/-  a litre milk !!! It was good and I could make curd regularly besides other use. Sale picked up, resulting  a  long queue early morning near the store. As obedient senior citizen, I was always followed the ‘Q’. Later. some roadside tea makers started buying milk in bulk to the tune of fifty pouches or more by jumping the “Q”, since they were purely business minded. For a few days, I  watched this tamasha. Having spent life time with discipline at every stage and having spent more than 3 years in US where such things are unimaginable, I could not tolerate  this rowdiness. Today, I protested and had a heated altercation with the person jumping the ‘Q”. Though,the intruder retreated with abuses to me, strangely none came in support of me.

      AFTER half an hour of bank opening, I went to  encash part of my monthly pension money. I was No. 3 in the ‘Q”.  I saw one college girl, just dashing with a cheque to counter ahead of us, breaking the ‘Q’.  I told very softly to the girl, please  get into ‘Q’. She said, do not worry I shall take after you, still standing near the counter defying my request to get into ‘Q’.Took out her cell phone and against all unwritten rules of etiquette for use of cell phone started talking unmindful of people around. None standing behind me protested against her and I felt that I am making fool of myself .

      TO-DAY, being Wednesday, the day when my younger Dr.sister is available, I decided to meet her. She was just staying about 3 Kms from my house. I took out my helmet and scooter Lamby, which was spick and span with occasional failure.  Its re-painted bottle green color was  bright and elegant  inspite of  vintage  model of 1978. One kick, it did not fail me. After passing and crossing numerous potholes and road cutting for laying water pipe lines which are never filled by concerned authorities, I reached cross road manned by traffic light signals  and spineless traffic police. Moment I reached, RED light came up. I just stopped near the obliterated stop line leaving some space on the left. While waiting ,I was wondering  ,why STOP word is written beyond line, it should have been before line. Vehicles instead of stopping before line, cross and go on word STOP defeating  the very purpose of  a line. This is what exactly happened. On my left, though there was no  scope for smooth passing of any  vehicle, two  young boys on bike passed from side of me and halted on the line as well as on word STOP.  They were in twenties without helmet. Both were putting on pair of goggles. Pillion rider had put his cell phone cord across his neck.  Bike appeared to be costly,high powered and new. Both were wearing jeans and distinct color shirts. Moment, the bike stopped, the boy who was sitting on pillion and was chewing paan (betel leaves with areca nut and lime), blew and spat red saliva from his mouth right ahead of front wheel of my Lamby.  I protested loudly.  The pillion rider with red shirt, lifted his goggles on his forehead in filmy style with dirty red-maroon ugly set of teeth, giggled and said “ SORRY KAKA – PHIR  MILENGE (Sorry Uncle – Will meet you again) A sarcastic apology !

     THE boy driving  the bike, , after ensuring that the policeman on duty was looking other side ,accelerated his bike and sped past,  inspite of RED light was still on  and “Jumped the Signal”.  I  looked at the nearby lady commuter on her Scooty, and said “ See how these boys are behaving” She said “Hhaoo”.  This is typical Nagpur originated dialect  which does not indicate yes or no – neutral and noncommittal.

      GREEN signal came up and I proceeded ahead leaving behind the incident. Stopped at Indian Oil Gas Station, stood again in “Q”. Fortunately, none  jumped the ‘Q’ as none was behind me .While coming closer to sister’s place, it appeared that some accident had occurred just a few minutes before.  I stopped my Lamby on one side and started inquiring about  the accident. Oil tanker had spilled the oil on cement road making it slippery.Two boys riding the bike at neck break speed, slipped off and dashed against the road divider. The bike was laying across the road divider . Two boys who appeared to be thrown out, were laying on either side of the road divider.  One boy I could recognise, who had just “Jumped the Signal” . I felt so sorry for him. Had  he waited for green signal perhaps this would not happened.  I looked at the other boy with red shirt. He was laying with face up.  Thick red blood was oozing out from his mouth as if he is spitting out chewed betel leaves.  His eyes were wide open. Oh God ! He was dead.  The expression of his eyes was saying  “ SORRY KAKA….I  JUMPED  YOUR  “ Q “….( Sorry Uncle …..). A non sarcastic silent  apology.

A real-life incident that teaches so much…

Begging Bowl  Versus  Bread of Dignity

As a weekly routine on Thursday morning, I was little late to visit Shri Sai Baba Temple. It was about 10 o’clock, but  weather was quite warm during fag end of February month in Nagpur. On my vintage scooter Lamby ,I got out to temple located on busy Wardha Road. The slope of fly-over had obstructed a clear view of temple from other side of the road. In spite of this, the temple continue to attract not only local devotees but  tourist as well. On reaching, I found usual parking mess around the by-lanes. I preferred to keep the vehicle away from this mess, though I had to walk a little distance.Then came the barricade erected to prevent 4 wheelers entry.After crossing that on either side of this by-lane, umpteen  beggars were found  squatting. This line continued,well past shops / restaurant on left side and boundary wall of temple on right side up to main gate of temple.While entering, I passed through an unmanned/unserviceable door frame  metal detector , mocking the so called security . I deposited my shoes in collection centre. Bought a single rose flower and entered the main temple after touching the steps. Sizable number of devotees were already there. It was obvious being Thursday coupled with office/business hour rush and increased footfall of students to temple as the annual examinations were closer.

I went closer to platform where Shri Sai Baba statue is placed.Whole back drop and statue was very nicely decorated .Beautifully crafted silver mukut ( crown) studded with precious  multi color stones and saffron silken shawl added to his charismatic  personality, seated with symbolic crossed legs posture. Beauty of his expressive eyes is, if you see him from any direction, you will feel that he is looking at you and beckoning “COME, I SHALL HELP YOU”.

After paying obeisance with a flower , I prayed for a minute, in midst of avoidable repeated loud and irritating hauling “aage badho”(move forward) by priest and the security guard posted for manning the crowd .  Made one  pradarshana and paid again obeisance by laying down with the support of nearby steel stump provided for barricading area for ladies. As usual dropped Rs. 11/- in donation box and on return,picked up only one small coconut piece as prasad kept in the tray near  table and was being distributed by a aged volunteer. After paying a tip to volunteer looking after foot-gear section,left the temple with enlightened feeling.

Moment I came out of the gate,  and turned left on to the by-lane, I was virtually mobbed by more than ten beggars for alms. Many were healthy who were able to move briskly . They were all having torn,dirty clothes due to obvious reasons with trained expression to create pity with container outstretching for alms. I pushed my right hand in my trouser pocket and took out some coins.  Just then I got hit on my right elbow from the back and all the coins fell on the ground scattered all over the place.  I do not know whether it was an accidental or by mischievous design. Nevertheless, whole lot of beggary mob got busy collecting the fallen coins. It was blessing in disguise and I could get out of this melee. But it left a sore feeling in my mind.

I started my Lamby but after some distance driving, felt that rear wheel tyre pressure is low. Frantically, I looked for some shop where I could get the air filled. After about half a kilometer, I was happy to see one foot pump kept under the shadow of the tree and a man working in make-shift puncture repair shop. I took a sigh of relief and parked the vehicle closer to foot pump. The man came promptly towards the wheel & plugged the tube to the nozzle .This man was about 25 years old, came crawling and dragging himself from his seat about 5 ft away from the scooter.  He was physically handicapped from hip below, but he used his both the hands on the foot pump to inflate the tyre and measured the pressure with gadget. I was dumbfounded. The promptness and agility shown by him was remarkable. I was tempted to pay more than required charges, but resisted myself . It would have hurt his self-esteem and self respect who was standing on his own dignity.  After paying required amount  I drove back home. All throughout I was comparing the BEGGING BOWLS, which I had just  passed across and the physically challenged man who is earning BREAD of DIGNITY under the shelter of the neem tree in scorching sun – beckoning “COME, I SHALL HELP YOU”.

Importance of Phraseology in Air Traffic Management

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),is a specialized agency of the United Nations to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. Its sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety,security,efficiency and regularity.The organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 Member States. ICAO has issued documents and recommended practices,annexe and amendments on various aviation subjects. The process of communication phraseology is perhaps the most important document (Annexe 10  Vol.II and ICAO Doc 9432)because it enables Pilot and Air Traffic Controller to communicate quickly and effectively despite difference in language and reduces the opportunity for misunderstanding. Ambiguous or no-standard phraseology is a frequent and casual or contributory factor in aircraft accident or incident.

On Sunday,27th March,1977, the Tenerife Airport Disaster occurred when two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft collided on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport of Spanish Island of Tenerife.  The crash is the deadliest accident in aviation history with  total 583 fatalities and only 61 survived injuries. Aircraft involved were KLM 4805 and PANAM 1736.Both were diverted to Tenerife due to closure of Gran Canaria airport and had taxied out for take off from RWY 30 after back tracking RWY 30. KLM was at take off point and PANAM was was still back tracking on runway. Visibility was very poor for both aircraft as well as for Air Traffic Controller. At time 1705:36.7 KLM was ready for departure and at 1706.50 crashed with PANAM on  take off run – in just 1 min & 14 seconds tragedy occurred !!

Investigators from Spain, USA and two airlines were involved. Fundamental cause was attributed to Captain of KLM who took off without “take off clearance”. Other major factors were, limited visibility and simultaneous radio transmissions.  Contributory cause was “USE OF AMBIGUOUS AND NON-STANDARD PHRASEOLOGY BY KLM CO-PILOT AND TENERIFE CONTROL TOWER.  KLM co-pilot had said “We are at take off”. Ambiguousn phraseology. It should have been “Ready for departure”. In response Tower had said “OKAY” which is non-standard.He should have said “WAIT,PANAM back tracking on runway.” Correct usage of standard phraseology is must for air traffic controllers so that air traffic clearances are clear,concise and complete in all respect in the interest of accident/incident free aircraft operations as well as  for prestige of high profile profession “Air Traffic Controller”.

Detailed information on this incident along with extract of cockpit voice recorder and tapes from Tenerife Tower is available on  In fact this should be material for case study at all flying clubs/academy,airline training centers, all airports and Civil Aviation Training College, Allahabad, if not already included.