The Key Maker 

The Key Maker
The Key Maker

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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29 Comments Add yours

  1. We got locked out of our home every few months.Either the door had to broken or the key maker traced.The childhood memories kept flooding back as I read this I don’t think anybody in the history of blogging written about this particular trade. Interesting.

    Like

    1. Thank you for the kind words Doc. Means a lot.

      It was nice for me too, to take a walk down memory lane & relive those times. The number of keys we lost & the times, we’d locked ourselves out of the house simply has no end. Watched the key-maker so closely, that we eventually got around to using a few of his tricks too 😀

      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Seriously, these people are magical. The way they dedicate their lives for just one craft of their, doing it endlessly and perfectly. Lot more to learn life lessons from these. 👌

    Like

    1. You bet Shalini.
      Practice, dedication, perfection. Watching them at work makes me wonder why we fail to realise that they’re artists, working silently at honing their craft.

      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True that Angry saint 🙂

        Like

  3. A nice post. There are people like him who do such amazing work but hardly ever get noticed. You brought out the importance of the key maker! 🙂

    Like

    1. Qye Rohan, we’re surrounded by these unsung heroes. Happy to have had the opportunity to switch on the spotlight this one time.

      Cheers 🙂

      Like

  4. Loved the way you’ve written this! How I wish everyone was so dedicated! And good that you brought the keymakers story out!

    Like

    1. Thanks Reema 😀
      Even I miss out on many things. That afternoon, thanks to my bike, I managed to tilt the balance in the right direction, this one time.

      Cheers 🙂

      Like

  5. Thanks Menaka, everyone has their story; we only appreciate it, if & when we discover it.

    Cheers 🙂

    Like

  6. very nice post! In India we seldom look around us, many people look too small to be even looked twice. This is only till you require their services, and when you need them, then is when you actually know the backstage..very well written @http://Simpleindianmom.in

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mahekg says:

    Happy to connect #zarahatkeblogreads

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kalaravi16 says:

    Very well-put Tanmay! I totally agree, the kind of talent you see in India is mind-blowing! However like you pointed out, these magic fingers seldom receive the recognition or remuneration due to their level of expertise! I seldom haggle with such people as I feel guilty that their talent is so unrecognized. It is matter of time before such skilled persons disappear from our local maps as they get snapped up by more lucrative offers elsewhere! Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Kala. I’m glad to know i’m on the right path here.

      Our nation is supremely talented. It’s just that we don’t value it or the efforts of labour. There are plenty of honest people waiting to be discovered & compensated fairly for their work. Just hope & pray that we wake up as a nation to this gift before it is lost forever.

      Cheers 🙂

      Like

  9. Jaibala Rao says:

    Key Makers are god sent and highly underrated as community helpers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true Jaibala, so true. They’re our unsung heroes 🙂

      Like

  10. Indeed the world looks beautiful the way you want to look

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yeah..me too have enough experiences with keymakers.for my house doors that got locked once and my office drawer keys.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tina Basu says:

    Such life savers these people are. I had to make copies of my office drawer twice because I am always losing my keys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Tina, I agree, most of these guys are selfless folks.

      Like

  13. deepagandhi says:

    Good one..nobody acknowledges these people.!

    Like

    1. True that Deepa, some of the best things in life, go by unnoticed. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers 🙌

      Like

  14. poojasahni says:

    When you spoke about the part where the biker frantically searching for the key, took me back to the time when I lost the key to the TB in Goa early this year! Was a funny incident but surely taught me alot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. Yes. That was a mad dash. If it hadn’t been for that guy agreeing to come the distance in the night, it’d have been dicey. Some memory though 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  15. shwetadave09 says:

    really liked the post…these small wonders go so unnoticed. and you rightly said in Switzerland if I lose a key of the set of 5 i am given by then owner of the apartment I will have to pay CHF 5000 which is equivalent to 350000 INR. nice post indeed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ruchi Verma says:

    Loved yo covered him 🙂 a keymaker

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You Ruchi. These are our unsung heroes indeed 👍

      Liked by 1 person

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