For some time now, I have been considering writing about some little recognized groups of highly individualistic entrepreneurs of India. They are as ubiquitous as our mosquitoes but, perform vital functions.
I have been pushed into doing so about one such group now by Conrad’s post America The Free which made me think of the service that our wayside puncture specialists provide us and many others who do so too. I shall be posting about some others in the days to come.
I shall start with these specialists without who our traffic will get more chaotic than it already is. To start with here are three pictures of the different types of them.
The top most and the bottom most have been inserted to give my readers a bit of amusement at our English sign boards. The puncher specialist is not a pugilist. He will fix punctures for motorcycles. I am sure that Magpie will be delighted with them!
The others in the order they appear are, a city wayside repairer who some years ago had a tricycle van which was mobile to provide the service. He found that it was more paying to stay put in one place and the tricycle has become his workshop. Don’t be deceived by the looks. It has got an official electricity connection and a compressor inside it. He will fix a puncture for any vehicle, including huge lorries, in a trice.
The next one is a specialist for bicycle tyres only. He will shift from location to location as the day progresses to exploit opportunities where there will be more bicycle traffic, and better chances of punctures.
The next one will be for any vehicle, but mostly for long haul trucks. These places are located on highways adjacent to places where truckers halt of rest and refreshments called dhabas, like this one.
A fuel pump is also likely to be in the vicinity.
These punture repair places are run by specialist owners usually helped by a couple of young lads, likely relatives from the owners’ villages. They will also sell used tyres, and buy used ones for resale. That is the stock of old tyres stacked in the compound in the picture above.