Time to stand still for CST's timekeeper

CST - He has never trained formally as a keeper of clocks, but millions of commuters rely on him to keep their time perfectly for them, daily.

Bandu Jadhav will retire next month. But commuters will probably never know that the hand that maintained the clocks in CST railway station for the last 38 years is not at work anymore. The clocks under Jadhav's jurisdiction are several. Some are 150 years old, some are 14 feet tall. Some are open to the public, some are ensconced in railway officers' private offices. There are five huge public clocks in the CST campus, plus a score or more heritage clocks scattered in departmental heads' offices. Jadhav tends a total of 22 such clocks on the CST premises. And never once have the clocks shown anything but the right time.

One of these quartz clocks, located on the wall of the senior divisional commercial manager's office, suffered irreparable damage on the night of 26 November 2008 when a stray bullet fired by Ajmal Kasab travelled several metres to lodge itself in the clock and stop it forever at seven minutes to ten. That particular clock now lies as an artefact locked inside one of the CR vaults, awaiting exhibition in a proposed railway museum.

Interestingly, Jadhav has never had any professional training. But for more than 38 years, he has been painstakingly winding, cleaning and maintaining perfect time in all the 22 clocks.

Needless to say, the Central Railway administration is grateful to this humble timekeeper who will hang up his boots in March 2017. He has received several honours and awards during the course of his service with the Railways. But the clock will not stop ticking for him, he says. His stint with the Railways could be over, but the work will always go on.

 

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