I have often wondered what it was that made Karl Marx tick… Not that I am against him or anything… Though I must admit I strongly resent his views on Communism and the rise of the Proletariat (whatever that means…)
I am in a place which can be best described by the word SLOW. Yes, slow. I mean life is so slow that you could sleep at a signal and wake up to find it still says STOP!! Although that may just be because you might have slept through an entire signal round with the horns blaring all about you…
Anyways, there I was in this SLOW city taking a sneak peek at the ‘facilities’ offered by this beautiful place… And I remembered I had a broken zipper to attend to – a broken zipper of my leather waist pouch (Dirty minds KEEP OUT!!!!). So I went searching around for a good cobbler – you know, the cheap skate trick. Get your work done in as little money with as much efficiency. Avoid the big names and hang out with the small ones.
It’s good the city that I stay in is cool this time of the year with relatively less humidity. I was happily warming up my eyes watching the real beauty of nature when I chanced upon a cobbler. Oh the untold joys of reaching your goal!! I went up to him…
“Do you repair broken zippers?”
“Only if you remove your pants… I can’t repair broken zippers while they are on you.”
“Very funny, except I was talking about the zipper of my leather waist pouch”
“In any case, you’ll have to remove that too. I can’t work on it while its hanging at yor waist.”
So he had to have the last word… I decided not to let it continue further and dropped the topic. I removed the waist pouch and handed it over to him. He took it and analyzed it from top to bottom… took a look at the zipper and moved it up and down a couple of times.
“It has slipped its tracks, you need to put in a new one.” I offered him a helping hand.
“I know and that’s exactly what I am gonna do. Thank you for your kind assistance.”
The way he thanked me certainly did not feel like he was thankful to me or at least that’s what I thought. Oh, and by the way, did I mention he gave me a terrific glare, the one that says Keep-out-or-I-will-unleash-the-forces-of-fury-upon-you. Ooooooooh, I was soooo scared….
Meanwhile our hero, the cobbler was busy snipping out a leather piece. and carefully sizing it so as to fit – wait a minute, a leather piece?
“Hey, I just want to repair a broken zipper….”
Another glare. He continues sizing the piece according to his wishes and when he feels he’s achieved the perfection of Michaelangelo, he stops.
“Oh so you’re repairing a shoe. Look is it that urgent? I mean, I am in a hurry and I gotta get back to my room. Can’t you do it a little faster?”
A sideways glare. He starts to wax the string with the ball of wax he fishes out from his soiled bag.
“Are you listening?”
No reply. He goes on stiching the leather on the shoe and finishes the job. I look at my watch. Half an hour has passed and I am left standing with only my expectations for company. He finally takes my waist pouch and a clipper.
He clips the zip locker out of place and fishes out another one from his soiled bag. (That bag seems to contain a lot of things, I begin to wonder. Or is it my paranoia working overtime?) He cuts of a few stiches from the end and tries to insert the new zip locker. With a little bit of effort, he finally manages to insert it in both the tracks. He pushes back the zip and zips it up. He tries it a couple more times and when he’s finally satisfied he fishes out a small angular u-shaped thing. (Actually it looks more like a square bracket laid horizontal.) He pushes it, transversing the two tracks and with a pincher locks it inside. He pushes the zip back to see how far it goes. The zip locks at the u-shaped lock thing and he looks contented. He returns the waist pouch and looks at me.
All this has taken a little more than 2 minutes. (I swear. I counted the time by the watch!!)
I am dumbstruck. I search for words.
“That was so fast and so easy. You wasted a precious 30 minutes of my life.”
“No. I taught you how to be patient for thirty minutes when you know that the actual job is not gonna take more than two. That will be five rupees.”
I give him the money and he returns back to his work.
I wonder is the city slow or is it making a pretence of it? I mean if people here are so efficient, why don’t they work that way? Why make a pretence of inefficiency, when you know that at your best, you can beat the best minds at work? Why do we always think that the work done by the others is the best? Why is the grass always greener at the other side? Why is it that the best offers always come when you’ve already bought the product? WHY?
And why is this bus so f**king late??
“People don’t go there anymore. It’s too crowded.”