Mission Delhi – Toy Train Driver Surjeet, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The world is full of possibilities and some folks are able to find jobs that one never imagined to have existed.
Take Surjeet, for example. The young gentleman is a train driver. Nothing unusual. But he drives a toy train that doesn’t chug along in a zoo or an adventure park but in a Gurgaon shopping mall. “I spend the whole day driving the train here on the mall’s ground floor,” he says, as his four-coach show halts at the ticket counter—the service is operated by an adventure games company. The Ambience mall is huge and the 200 rupees joy-ride consists of two rounds that take about 10 minutes.
One might naturally be curious about the series of circumstances that led Surjeet to such an unlikely line of employment. But it is not so surprising on following the arch of his life. He began his career at a “fun park” in Siliguri, West Bengal, where he manned the counter at a “video games parlour”. Soon afterwards, he says, the park started a toy train service for kids and “I successfully applied for the vacancy.”
He went on to do more such “toy train jobs” in Calcutta and Raipur, before settling down in this Gurugram mall some six months ago. “I watch little children having a good time and that makes me feel good,” says the driver while waiting for a fresh batch of customers.
Some minutes later the mall starts echoing with the sound of bells. That’s Surjeet, warning the mall rats to make way for his express.
[This is the 198th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Not just another mall job