A man who carries the luggage of the passengers to train compartment and takes down it from the compartment is called coolie. He is often seen in and out the railway platform in red shirt. He knows many rules and regulations of railways.
He knows train numbers, their name and their arrival or departure time along with the platform numbers. If a passenger has any confusion about any train he may consult a coolie. Thus, a coolie, apart from cariying passengers’ load, helps them with his knowledge about railways.
The coolie belongs to a class of very poor people, who earn their livelihood by performing manual labour. He gets a small amount for his work. The amount depends upon the weight of load, the distance and the conditions of time and place.
The railway coolie wears a particular dress. He puts on a red shirt and a yellow turban. He ties a brass plate on his arm which is his license. No coolie can work at a station without a license. As he is very poor, he never cares for his dress and is usually seen in shabby and torn clothes.
The coolie never enjoys a holiday. He works very hard everyday. With other ccolies he waits for the coming of trains.
As soon as a train arrives at the platform he runs to a compartment for the convenience of the passengers. Sometimes he has to carry heavy loads. Taking boxes and holdalls on the head and baskets in the hand, he rushes with steady and careful steps.
One can imagine his taxing and tiring work by seeing the load which he caries. His hard work goes on from day to day without any rest, without any recreation. He is so poor, that he does not care even for bad weather. In month and out month he would live in the same place doing same monotonous work.
The income of a coolie is not certain. If the passenger is old, with luggage he settles wages and demands a big amount. When the passenger is in haste to catch the train or reach home, he or she often agrees to pay the unreasonable amount. If the wages have not been settled the coolie is sure to create a scene.
Overall, the railway coolie is very helpless. He can do any service for you. He never says ‘No’. He can arrange a seat for the passenger. He can make your bed on it. He can bring food or tea, if any passenger wishes for them. Generally he is very honest. We need his services. We cannot do without his services.
A coolie is after all a labourer. We should not mind paying them even more than the fixed rate. We must not forget that it is coolie who makes our journey very comfortable and convenient. Hence he deserves our sympathy.