Saturday, May 09, 2020

The royal 'puncture-wala': Never judge a man by the size of his shop, his name or appearance

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Today, let me tell you about an interesting 'puncture wala'. He runs the shop on road side.

It fixes tyres (tires) and has air pump too. It is a decent sized shop, a couple of times I went past and saw him call his young assistant to check the tyre when a car or bike stopped at the place. Also noticed how he had lot of things in the shop

Going to nearby general merchants' shop, I often saw him make elaborate arrangements before lunch & dinner. Doing things stylishly, towel on peg, proper chair to sit and eat, a big lunch box opened, never in a hurry, even an iron cot. Saw him sleep too on it in afternoons. Aish!

Then, one fine day, I saw him at a meat shop. After he left, I asked the mutton seller, that wasn't he the guy who has that 'puncture shop'. 'Arrey, woh ... bhai, unka to bohat lamba chaudaa kaam hai'. Is it? Yeah, he sells mostly big flats and plots, deals in sale of property. Told me lot of things.

The guy opened the shop long ago and it was a place to sit, the location was important, he deals in a lot of things. Then, one day, my friend had come from Odisha. The rear wheel had some issue & we had to go to his shop. The assistant hadn't come so he asked us to sit.

As generally equipment is kept outside, nobody ventures in, but that day I could see the shop from inside. Everything one needs like in a small hostel room. An entire wall had 'tughras', something that was very interesting. Once again it tells how judging people because of the size of their office or shop, their vehicle or appearance or any such thing, can be so far from reality.

Even in lockdown, vehicles ply. Policemen, doctors, bankers, transport and official vehicles continue to move, hence, 'puncture walas' are still most sought after. After the lockdown too, they don't need a push to restart business again, as long as vehicles are on the streets.


I also mentioned it because lot of people in India, especially, the right-wing folks consider the job of a 'puncture-wala' as less important and it is also a term they commonly use for 'Muslims', to suggest that most Muslims are less educated, poor.

No work that earns you money to earn a bread is demeaning and it doesn't insult us. However, it shows their upbringing, their lack of real education and the contempt towards physical labour.