Hidden Potential.

Nirai Kudam Neer Thalumbaadhu kurai kudam Koothadum
நிறை குடம் நீர் தளும்பாது. குரை குடம் கூத்தாடும்
Water From A Fully Filled Pot Will Not Spill Over.
Water In A Partially Filled Vessel Will Dance Wildly.

Let me share a personal story. This goes back to the early nineties of the last century when India had just two cars on the roads, the Hindustan Ambassador and the Premier Padmini. The car involved in this story was a Hindustan Ambassador.

We were driving down to Hyderabad when one of the front shock absorbers got off the mounting and made an infernal racket. The top end had made the holding hole larger and the holding nut was slipping through the hole. We drove on till we came to a small wayside town primarily catering to the nearby farms and found a mechanic sleeping under a thatch roof. We woke him up and when he saw what the problem was, he informed us that he would fix it in a jiffy, He simply took a smaller size nut and force turned it on the shaft to make the shaft narrower. He then put two metal washers on top and the bottom of the hole to make the hole smaller and reinserted the shock absorber and fixed it in place with a smaller nut along with a holding nut. I had that vehicle for five years after the event and nothing further needed to be done to that shock absorber ever till I had the car. For all his pains and the two new nuts that he put in, the mechanic took Rs.50/=, just under a dollar in current exchange rate. Before we could all get back into the car and drive away, he quietly went back to sleep in his little shack.

Imagine that mechanic with proper training and finance in a city.  Every time I share this story with others, I get stories of similar nature that makes me wonder about the privileged lives that we live in urban India whereas remarkably resourceful people go unrecognised in rural India living subsistence lives.


I have suggested this week’s LBC topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

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29 Responses to Hidden Potential.

  1. shackman says:

    We have discussed the entrepreneurial spirit in India before – it is quite impressive. And while I get your point, perhaps being a captain of industry is simply not a driver. Maybe the country folk prefer the slow pace – they seem to be like that here. You see a lot of it here in the south. In large, diverse countries I suspect there is a vast quantity of hidden potential and it will always be that way. India is frankly the most fascinating country in the world to me – from the food, culture and politics to the burgeoning business entrepeneurship.

    • Thank you for saying such nice things about India. It is music to my ears. Yes, you are right of course that many rural folks do not want to migrate to the cities if they can afford to be comfortable in their own backyards. That the potential is there for different things however cannot be denied.

  2. From what you describe, he was leading a good life. One reason I married Andy was I knew we would never live in a city.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Apricot Trees

    • Ursula says:

      “One reason I married Andy was I knew we would never live in a city”. Oh, Jean, ever the romantic.

      If I had married because of what my heart’s desire WOULDN’T do I’d never married in the first (and second) place. As it were, I’d bloody follow anyone who captures me to the moon. Yes, the moon. Doesn’t get bleaker than that. Talk about devotion. But then, maybe, and worthy a thought if not a pleasant one, Jean, scientists possibly favour the utilitarian.

      Ursula recently posted..Expansive

    • One way of looking at it of course!

    • Andy and I were lucky to find one another. It’s been almost 53 years now that we’ve been married, and I keep telling him I love my life, don’t mess it up by letting anything happen to him. We may not have much time left, considering how it flies, so we’re making the most of it.

      I hope your golden years work out as well, U.
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..The Mystery of the Plum Tree

  3. kylie says:

    If your rural mechanic had training and finance he would probably do things the “correct” way and all the resourcefulness would be wasted

  4. tammy j says:

    I love men who can simply get it done. whether Indian or otherwise.
    it’s the vast difference between taking a long meandering ‘waiting for the part ma’am’
    or the clean and confident and successful ‘as the crow flies.’
    whether it has to do with urban or country living I don’t know. I suspect you might find either in both!
    and I agree with shackman. India is endlessly fascinating to me. and thanks to you I learn more everyday.
    tammy j recently posted..moving on old bean

  5. kaitlin says:

    What a great story! I agree with Shackman and Tammy!

  6. Some people are enormously talented in the ability to fix things. It requires an analytical mind, and the confidence to experiment. I think people with mechanical problem solving skills may be few and far between, currently. Yes, in order to understand technology, you need to be able to solve problems, but fixing a machine is different, in my view. It requires experience.

  7. we are known in NZ for having many fix-its’ with the #8 wire. It’s not for a foolhardy person, it’s strong as an ox – kind of wire.


  8. tikno says:

    The golden-voices singer could not go forward in the music industry just because of her ugly-faced. It’s because the music industry more follow to the market tastes, namely pretty face.

    Talented young man fail to get job because of less money bribe (a bad culture).

    Talented children dropping out of school due to lack of money. The problem is, social security systems in developing countries, moreover in poor countries, are still not good enough (a sad story about corruption).

    That’s what I hear more often in the east.
    So, a lot of hidden potential still HIDDEN.

    • That too is part of life Tikno. There are any number of stories like that here too. Right now I am mentoring three young people with similar problems one of them just come off an attempt at suicide too!

      • tikno says:

        Oh… that’s another kind of hidden potential not a positive one. You get a difficult job!

      • tikno says:

        Out of topic :
        I see LBC’s member mixed from eastern and western culture.
        Allow me to suggest a topic for LBC (I know the schedule is full) below:
        Eastern and western culture, the reflections of hidden potential in between.

        Just like our brain, the left and the right side has its own potential. A “potential” reflections from the more logical or the more senses.
        Just my thoughts.
        tikno recently posted..Messages from golden wedding anniversary

        • It is a very good idea Tikno and I shall certainly take it up with the other LBC writers. In the meanwhile, I will be delighted to publish a guest post by you on the subject.

          • tikno says:

            That’s a very deep topic for me to write it well.

            Moreover, English is foreign language here in Indonesia (not official language in my country) where I learn it self-taught and a bit in the school. Here in daily life using Indonesian language, very rarely speak in English.
            One of the reasons why my blog using English is to spur myself to learning it, to enrich my English vocabulary. There is Indonesian – English dictionary and English grammar book on my table.

            I’m sure you already know how my bad English grammar from the beginning of my blog posts, the memories when you and me start blogging and no visitor.
            tikno recently posted..Messages from golden wedding anniversary

    • One has to be careful in setting up government support systems so they don’t undermine motivation. It’s tricky.
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..July 9, 2017 Sunday Hike

  9. Mother says:

    Ramana, what I love is the ingenuity possible when one really understands what makes things work. Perhaps the less one has, the more one needs to know how to use the limited resources. My father was such a man in the construction arena and I had a brother-in-law who would have been able to speak this mechanic’s language. If I have any such area of understanding, it is cooking. I can almost taste a combination before I add it.

    Back to autos, however, now one needs a electronics degree to know how our car works. My husband (who can fix almost anything) now leaves the cars alone. Totally different ball game, isn’t it?
    Mother recently posted..I Want You To Live

    • That is a remarkable insight Mother. Making maximum use of available resources seems to come naturally to the underprivileged and the reverse also seems to be true in practice. I used to be quite handy and do small repairs at home but since I was hit with ulnar palsy seven years ago, that has been restricted and I depend on professionals even for small tasks.

      Yes, the modern automobile is a different ball game altogether, but in all fairness, so are breakdowns and repairs.

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