Monday, May 24, 2010


23rd may 2010

It’s 1:30pm and I just returned from the motor-market. I’d gone there for a class to learn how to disassemble the rear tyre and tube from my bike. At first I didn’t feel like going out of my cool room as it was blistering hot outside but then I thought of the experience of a flat tyre that Anuj and I had on the return leg of the Rishikesh trip exactly a week ago. I was dumb enough to have witnessed the act of fixing a puncture but not registering it very carefully. To people who’ve done it umpteen times, it’s a piece of cake, to others it’s totally avoidable and I happen to a member of the latter group. We were lucky that day that the jungle had just started and we somehow, despite the great ordeal, managed to get the bike back in civilization to fix it. The thought gave me a jump start and I picked up a bottle of water, tools and headed to Ashok Wheel-wala in Sector 48. This guy is a veteran with balancing spoke wheels. He started at a young age of 12 and is nearly 40 now. On a previous occasion, I’d requested him to help me learn how to fix a puncture and he had agreed. I called him and reminded him and he told me come over.
It was a torment I tell you. Firstly to loosen the #24 nut, that that silly goose in Nahan had over-tightened, tested my shoulders, back and triceps to the extreme. I’m not used to sitting Indian-potty style and most of the job of removing the tube has to be done in that position. On such occasion, unexercised legs get fatigued and start to shiver non stop for quite some time. The job is not as easy as tightening or loosening a nut either. It requires a degree of practiced skill, keen eye and a high degree of caution; you don’t wanna know what a careless person’s face looks like after a tyre tong gets projected on it by slipping tyre, also a careless fit can damaged the tube. Ashok-ji, the expert, showed by a deep scar on his eyebrow that was the result of such an accident, thankfully his eye was saved. After the ordeal was over, I was sweating profusely and my legs were quite fatigued. I laughed at myself for thinking that it wasn’t going to be so difficult. Anyway I need to get tyre tongs made like the ones that Ashok-ji has and practice this a exercise a couple of times till I master it. Ashok-ji was extremely helpful and dedicated quite a bit of his time and energy, not to mention lent his tools and pressure pump and smiled at the many times I got stuck during the protocol and on one particular occasions said “ishi liye Guru ki zaroorat padti hai.” (That’s why you need a Guru).
While leaving I felt I couldn’t thank him enough. It’s nice to appreciate all the skills that people acquire in their jobs; surely no job is too small in this world.

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