The Magic of Class M2 Locomotives
When I see Kumaran's M2 drawings it brings me nostalgia.
In fact I had started drawing the Canadian Engines when I was only seven years old. I continued drawing during my tenure at a school in Jaffna. My class mates did not quite understand about my interest towards M2s at that time but were stunned to see a real replica of a Canadian loco on the black board.
Once, I forgot to erase the drawing on the black board prior to my teacher's entry into the class room and was terrified about the consequences. On the contrary my teacher appreciated my drawing and encouraged me to become an engineer having known my interests in the locomotives.
Ever since I started drawing the M2 locos my class mates gave me a nick name as "Canadian". I still believe that due to my mates chanting my nick name "Canadian' I have finally become a real Canadian after all.
As my interest grew I started to recreate "clakety-clak" on the bench during free periods at school.
This really made me popular in the class was everyone got amused by the sound I created. They started to share my interests as it was sort of an entertainment for them.
My mates were lining up at times as they wanted to listen to the clakety-clak which in a way kind of a free train journey for them. They were able to distinguish features such as bridges, stations, turn outs, deceleration, acceleration etc. when the rhythm was changed. I usually ask them to place their ears on the bench while performing the clakety-clak.
As my class mates interest grew in trains I started to amuse them by telling them the road number of the loco without even looking at it. I was able to master the triple horn sounds of each and every M2 and would call out the road number ahead of time without looking at the loco.
This was a thrill of a life time for some of my contemporaries and at one point they believed that it was kind of a magic that I was trying to perform.
End of a true story!
Illustration by N. Senthilkumaran, copyright