The Station Master

 A tea party was going on. The year was 1922. The occasion was Railway Superintendents’ inspection of Trichy Railway station.  The Railway Superintendent was a British man, the station master, Indian. Sweets and savouries were served after the inspection concluded.

A coolie carried a bucket and mug of water for the officers to wash their hands. The bucket which was being filled with dirty water after going around reached Mr. Singaravelu the station master. He told the coolie, “Give me the bucket of water”

Everybody looked on curiously with puzzled expressions.  The station master walked with the bucket towards the station superintendent a tall, burly white man and lifted the bucket to pour the dirty water on the white man’s head.  The shocked onlookers stood speechless at this downright rude act, expecting all hell to break loose but were amazed to see red roses being showered on the bewildered station superintendent instead of dirty water.

Yes,  Mr. Singaravelu was a magician and a good one! The Superintendent all flustered and extremely flattered asked for more magic tricks. But Mr Singaravelu  flatly refused with a smile. Was it a compliment or a veiled threat? We can only guess what was in his mind. Maybe he just wanted to display his magic skills.

Everyone dispersed in a upbeat mood remarking about how a dull, routine day turned out to be really interesting.

And who is this Mr. Singaravelu?

Anandavalli paati, my paternal grandmother’s father from the town Srikantapuram.

Narrated by my periappa Mr SR Chandran, yesterday. (Originally narrated to him by his father Mr V Swaminathan) 

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