The KeyMaker, aka chaabi-waala. There’s one in every neighborhood, out here in Bombay at least. Absolute life savers, these guys are magicians. They sit by their small stall, working through heat, noise, rain & grime. Offering their services on a round-the-clock basis, they’re in regular demand by locked out home owners.
There is however, a second group that’s heavily reliant on the KeyMaker & that’s the forgetful biker. Typically spotted on some road trip with a motorcycle Laden with luggage & frantically searching for the missing key. It is in these situations that the KeyMaker comes across like a Godsend. After one such incident where a KeyMaker 10 kilometres away came to the rescue on a trip, i needed no convincing of the KeyMaker’s existence in my life.
When we welcomed #Loki our #RoyalEnfield #Himalayan (yes, you’ll be hearing about this a lot in the coming days, if things go well), a visit to the KeyMaker was among the things on my check-list. This guy has been around for years now, in the neighbourhood, and is known to be pricey at times. But this day, I quietly agreed to the ₹100 he quoted for the job.
The next couple of hours went by in endless measurements, tiny adjustments & some precise filing work. It was a big insight into the kind of dexterity & skill involved is what seemed like an easy task. As his weathered fingers worked the blank to the exact contours of the lock mechanism, I couldn’t help but stare respectfully at his genius. An hour into the task, the blank had transformed into a back-up for Loki. But the KeyMaker wasn’t quite happy & he then spent the next hour making sure that his creation would work just as effortlessly & as reliably as the factory original! Now that’s some dedication to one’s craft right there.
The amount I paid him seemed like a steal after that & I would have gladly have paid him more without bargaining. Later that evening, I wondered at the genius of the craftsmen around us. In countries overseas, we’d spend a small fortune on a task like this. And even then, we’d end up with a machine-cut key, that’d be contour perfect, with an impeccable finish. Yet, this rough looking key, gave me a lot more joy, to hold and to operate. For, it was an insight into the talent & experience of an artist working at his craft in a world that rarely gives them a second thought.
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