UNCLE BEAR

AND

THE INDIAN RAILWAYS

 

Uncle Bear is coming tomorrow, Mama Bear told Baby Bear.

I do not think I ever saw him, said Baby Bear.

No, he went away to a different part of the world before your were born, Papa Bear told her.

It was very expensive to travel decades ago, said Grandpa Bear.

Nowadays travel is more affordable, Grandma Bear said.

It has also become easier to communicate, said Papa Ostrich who had dropped in for a visit.

 

 

It is called the Global Village now, said Mama Elephant, who was passing by.

 

The Global Village does not affect everyone, said Mama Tiger. Only for a fraction of animals is it a Flat Earth.

 

Different parts of the world remain different still, said Papa Wolf.

Next day Uncle Bear comes home.

 

What are the long trains I see here? he asked.

The Indian railways are among the biggest in the world, Grandpa Bear tells him.

 

Billions of people travel by them every year, Papa Elephant told him.

There are thousands of trains every day, Grandma Bear said.

There are thousands of railway stations, all looking alike, said Mama Rhino.

 

I would like to travel by them, said Uncle Bear.

The Indian railways have introduced a special scheme, said Papa Deer. Any journey starting and ending with a station is called a tour.

Uncle Bear would like to be part of every possible tour on the Indian railways, said Papa Bear. Yes, Yes! agreed Uncle Bear. This is regardless of the time and money invlolved.

He is just fascinated by the idea, said GreatGrandpa Bear.

How do I go about it? asks Uncle Bear. I want to to know what trains he should choose to travel.

You should choose a set of trains, said Auntie Bear. Every tour should have at least one train in the set. How do I go about it, he asks Papa Wolf.

 

The Fox family have set up a travel agency, Papa Wolf said. They can be contacted online.

Look up their email address, Uncle Bear tells Baby Bear.

Uncle bear sends a mail to the Fox family.

The horrid Baby Fox is here, complains Mickey the Lapso. He is no good. Should I bite him?

Nothing of that sort, said Mama Bear. Go eat your protein biscuits.

What is the problem? asks Baby Fox.

Uncle Bear explains.

Baby Fox pretends to think deeply for half an hour.

Here is a list of the trains, he tells Uncle bear. There is a consultation fee. Here is the bill.

What a hefty fee, exclaims Grandpa Bear.

Let me see the list, said Mama Bear. There is an obvious error!

Some cycles are not covered at all, she said.

Let me see the list of trains, said Papa Bear. Yes, you are correct!

Uncle Bear protests to the Fox agency.

Here is the talkative Mama Fox, said Mickey the Lapso. She is upto no good. Should I bite her?

Do nothing of that sort, Mickey, said Grandma Bear. Go and eat the sweets in the corner.

It is very unfortunate, said Mama Fox. Baby Fox is still learning the business.

What should we do? asks Uncle Bear.

Here is another list of trains that Uncle Bear should travel by, said Mama Fox. Here is the bill for my fee.

What a hefty fee! exclaims Papa Bear.

We do not come cheap, said Mama Fox. We are an internationally reputed agency.

The Baby crow will drop in tomorrow, said Mama Bear, after attending to the phone.

There is a flaw in the list, said the Baby Crow the next day. Some tours are left out.

Let me see, said Grandpa Bear. Yes, you are correct.

Uncle Bear screams over the phone at the Foxes.

Here is the suave Papa Fox, barks Mickey the Lapso. He is a very bad. Should I bite him?

Do, nothing of that kind, Mickey, Grandpa Bear tells her.

The Fox family is very sorry for the error, said Papa Fox. He is the correct list of trains.

Why did the error occur? shouted Uncle Bear.

Mama Fox is occupied with domestic work, said Papa Fox. So errors have occurred. We are giving you a discount in the next bill.

Let this not happen again, warns Uncle Bear.

Here is the bill for this visit, said Papa Fox.

Wha a a hefty fee, says a shocked Grandma Bear.

He has decamped with the money, said Mickey the Lapso.

 

Baby Tiger is dropping in to see Uncle Bear tomorrow, announced Baby Bear.

There is a flaw in the list of trains, said Baby Tiger the next day. Some tours have been left out.

Let me see, said Uncle Bear. Yes, you are correct.

Uncle Bear tries to contact the Foxes but they have closed shop.

I am desperate, screamed Uncle Bear.

The Pelican family is here, announced Mickey the Lapso.

We are just visiting, said Mama Pelican.

We are having a major problem, said Mama Bear to Uncle Pelican.

What is the problem? asks Uncle Pelican.

He listens patiently.

I advise Uncle Bear to meet the Baby Zebra, said Uncle Pelican. Baby Zebra is born with lot of gift.

She can easily guess the correct list of trains, said Mama Pelican. A lot of experts have proved her guesses to be correct.

Uncle Bear consults Baby Zebra.

I have got the list, he announces happily.

Now Uncle Bear starts travelling.

He wants to travel by all the trains in the list.

He is still traveling.

I will complain to Policeman Giraffe about the Foxes, said Grandma Bear.

Policeman Giraffe calls the Foxes to the police station.

What have you got to say for yourselves? he asks them.

Professor Nitwit of the University will explain to you, said Papa Fox. Here he is.

The problem is very difficult, said Professor NitWit. It has been studied for centuries in the University.

Baby Zebra gave the solution in no time, growled Policeman Giraffe.

We can also never hope to verify Baby Zebras list for all cycles, said Professor NitWit.

There can be errors then? asked Policeman Giraffe.

Yes. The Foxes had done their best.

You mean Baby Zebra cannot always be correct? asks Papa Bear.

Only an approximate solution is possible for such problems, claimed Professor NitWit. Whether the Foxes can do as well as Baby Zebra is a difficult problem to solve.

I will give the Foxes the benefit of doubt, said Policeman Giraffe. He let them off.