National Academy of Indian Railways is the alma mater of all the officers of Indian Railways.It is situated in a sprawling campus of 55 acres of the Pratap Vilas Palace at Lalbaug, Vadodara. NAIR has adequate hostel,sports and recreational facilities. It provides training to all levels of Indian Railway officers, from probationers to General Managers. Every railway officers visits NAIR at-least once in his life time.Campus of NAIR consists of variety of flora and fauna which includes languars,peacocks,birds,snakes etc. The campus is all green and atmosphere is always alive, filled with singing of birds and dancing of peacocks. This campus provides a serene environment for budding poets and writers. Late evening and early morning is the best time to take tour of the campus. Sometimes, the Arabian winds blow right across the campus which mesmerizes and says something in your ears that winds of change are about to come…
Different batch of probationers from various services reached NAIR on 26/2/2015.In the beginning itself we were allotted AC rooms in Pahune Hostel. Arrangements were made in such a way that probationers of different service were made as room partner. Similarly, all the officers were divided in 4 groups. Group was made as heterogeneous as possible. This was done to promote intermingling among various services so that we may get to know each other very well. Inter-departmental harmony is very essential for railways functioning and therefore all these measures were a step forward in the right direction.
First day at NAIR was all about joining formalities but in the evening there was ice-breaking ceremony. We were given few hours to prepare something and then present in front of everyone by the evening. On the very first day,when we barely knew each others’ name, probationers of different services had to perform as a team. As the name suggests , ‘Ice-breaking’ was all about breaking the hold of unfamiliarity but when we performed in the garden of Lalbaug, it didn’t seemed like we had been strangers to each other. Probationers from technical and non-technical services performed as team and ultimately all the ice was not just broken but it evaporated too.
Within few days, classes picked up the pace and test and quizzes started happening at regular interval. Foundation course is all about knowing something about everything related to Railways. So our subjects were civil,electrical,mechanical,signalling telecom,safety,accounts,personnel,commercial,operating,medical,Material management,law and Rajbhasha. In Rajbhasha you are taught the working knowledge of Hindi. For non-Hindi speaking candidates this is a kind of challenge but in the end they performed brilliantly in Hindi oratorical skills .So, if you come to NAIR for foundation course ,be prepared to study all these subjects in brief. Classes timings were from 9.00am to 4.15pm but in the morning we had PT and yoga sessions. Everybody used to get up around 6.00am and then report for their respective sessions. One absent was considered as one-fourth leave,so we took it seriously. In retrospect , i can say that forcing us to do yoga and PT was a good idea but. Now probationers know various exercise and yoga position for their physical fitness.
Officer’s mess is quite spacious here with adequate dining facilities. The quality of food is average as per the opinion of majority of the probationers. Mess staff and workers are co-operative and work hard to feed us three times a day.Cleaning and hostel staff also deserve a mention here because in the noise their hard works remains unnoticed.
After around one month of classroom teaching, it was time for the tour. Again we divided in five groups to tour different parts of country. I was in Shimla-Chandigarh trip.
A separate coach was attached to the train for carrying us to our destinations there by eliminating the need of doing reservations. Let me tell you that very few people get this privilege i.e travelling in the coach of your own. There are many memories to be shared from that trip but space and words becomes limit me for that. Travel in Shimla toy train was ultimate experience of its kind.This train passes through valleys,curves and tunnels giving you visual delights which are rare to be found.
While contemplating the beauty of surrounding hill, i also marveled at the engineering expertise of Indian Railways , and whose part i was becoming. The beauty of hill becomes even more enchanting when looked through the windows of this train. Second most memorable occasion was Wagah Border beating retreat ceremony, let me tell you that all probationers were given VIP passes and clearance. All this came to be so because we were part of Indian Railways.
This trip served a great deal in bringing us closer to each other. There were similar trips organised for other parts of country as well in which other groups participated. Overall, this practice of sending us to trips is a healthy tradition in Indian Railways and it should be continued for future probationers as well.
At this point, i must mention that cultural and sports talent in probationers was on full display during the foundation course.You can play lot of sports on NAIR Campus. Sport events were organized regularly and a probationers was given every opportunity to excel in the sports of his choice. Some of our probationers were multi-talented and they won medals in diverse fields.
Cultural performances were a delight to watch. The abundance of talent and willingness to perform was evident during cultural events. From monolouge to group dance, from singing to mimicry,probationers surprised everyone with their sheer talent. It is not just about books but railways teaches you to enjoy every part of your life.
At the end of this 10 weeks course,it was time to say goodbye and start the next journey for our separate destinations. We parted, but with the promise of meeting again in the future. For me it was totally trans-formative experience. I would thank all those who came across my life at this juncture. Memories of past will linger and hope of the future will persist in my life where NAIR would have played a great role.
Thanks for reading this post. In the end I am leaving you with the complete group photo of our foundation course.