We all love to hear Indian Railway announcements at railway stations. Don’t we? Have you ever thought about who is the lady behind the voice? The sweet voice sends tingles down our spines and we have been hearing it for 20 years. It would start with a tune and message saying, “For the kind attention of passengers, the train will arrive at this platform”.
If you are still figuring out the woman, it is none other than the 50-year-old Sarla Chaudhary. With a sweet voice, she drew attention to the passengers in Mumbai railway stations in India. Her soft voice was lovely that we always wanted to hear it again and again. For some people, Sarla’s voice keeps repeating in their ears even when the announcement has not been made.
Sarla Chaudhary’s venture all started when she attended the test for the post of “announcer” in Central Railway in 1982. Chaudhary was selected among the hundreds of candidates and she worked on daily wages basis. It was due to her hard work and soft voice, she secured her job in 1986.
“I was working as an announcer at one particular station and would announce manually. There was no computerised system at that time and we had to announce at each railway station,” she recalls.
In the year 1991, Chaudhary played an important role to record announcements in All India Radio. “I had to record the announcements in Marathi in different ways for different situations and it took over three to four days to finalise it. Later, the voice was mixed with a computer and was centralised.”
“I left the job 12 years ago due to some personal problems. I feel very happy when I hear my voice at railway stations and hear passengers appreciating it even when they don’t know me,” said Chaudhary. She is now plying her trade as an office superintendent in the OHE department at Kalyan.
Chaudhary’s voice was identified by the then GM Ashutosh Banerjee, who heard her soft voice while he was on Thane inspection. After spotting the talent, he then asked his officers to get her in a bid to record for the Indian railway announcements. VA Malegaonkar, Chief PRO, CR, said, “We are proud that we have such women working with CR. She was selected for her soft voice and we are using her voice since over 20 years.”
Though she is no longer working at Central Railway, the pre-recorded voice is still put to good effect during important situations. Even today, when all the announcements are made by Train Management System (TMS), the most-liked pre-recorded voice of Sharla has been saved in standby mode at control rooms.