Sunday, October 16, 2022

Travel Diaries- A day with the Car Tinkerer

In Uttarakhand, I went to an automotive workshop to get my friend’s car tinkered. A little dent to work on. The workshop owner said, it involves, a painter, dent remover and some finishing touches by him, the workshop owner. I agreed to the deal and headed to the workshop at later afternoon.

He quickly removed the fuel cap and sent it to the painting shop to get the right mixture of the paint. A grey jet black paint of 100 ml is bought. A young lad in early 20s came with another workshop owner, discussed the work and returned to their workshop to get the tools to work on.

While the painter is yet to arrive, the workshop owner, Sandeep got a hammer and some plastic screw caps.  Screw caps are only useful, when we have screw driver to use them. “Arre screw driver kaha hai?” he shouts at his apprentices. I stayed there for 40 minutes and didn’t hear their name from their owner’s mouth.

Is it how they get the work done? Don’t anyone like their name to be called? Ye idhar aaja, udhar who lelo, tum mere saat aao. No names to refer. How does it feel to respond to not names but signals? I thought.

The young painter came in cycle with a white plastic cover and unpacked all his tools. His tools consists of two tubes, two aluminium sharp sheets, sand paper and some wooden block to put the  wrap the sand paper and work on.

He  quickly prepared the thick white paste and applied to the holes, made by Sandeep. Body filler, it’s called. I was still wondering, how they’re going to cover the whole dent and make it spotless. I waited to watch. As I was getting on my nerves. Sandeep looked and said, “Isliye boltha hu, gaadi chhodke  chale jaayein.” Bahut mushkil hotha hai owners ko uska repair dekhe ke.

I’m more nervous, as it’s not mine but my friend’s car. I wanted to return the car in the shape I got it.

How did the dent happen, that’s another story for another day.

We waited for half an hour for  body filler to get dried. We took the car to the other workshop to get it painted. Sandeep promised me that work would be done in the next one hour. As I didn’t had anything to do, I took my car and sat in the other workshop to see how the car would get painted.

“Painter” he’s referred. He’s amused by my accent and asked my whereabouts. The moment I told I’m from Hyderabad, he felt affined as he also spent some time in Sount. Precisely, in Kerala and some parts of Tamil Nadu. He feels, all the states are same and all speak similar language.

“Aap musalman ho?” he asked, trying to identify with me more. No, I’m not. I replied to him. Spending some time, he asked what do I eat and where do I lived, what I studied and the whole story behind arriving to Uttarakhand, and also especially to the Udham Singh Nagar, a plains area in Uttarakhand.

Mixing a bit of paints and trying it out on car, the painter suddenly asked, “Will I get this kind of work in Hyderabad, do you know if there’s any job opportunity for me in Hyderabad? He asked.

I was perplexed by how he assumed that I could get a job for him in Hyderabad. I do not work in automotive industry. I do not have any friends in that. Neither I told him I’m into painting nor I’m a mechanical Engineer.

The painting tools are plenty. The paint is prepared by mixing right amount of paint and oil and other chemicals and blended without any bubbles. Later, the pressure is mounted to the sprayer and sprayed on the car. I realised that if 80 % of the paint is coated on the car, then 20% of it is vanished in the air. I could imagine all the chemicals and other toxic particles flying around and settling on one’s body, chai and tandoori chicken and other places, since there was a dull hotel joint named, Kings Kitchen. Neither Kings can dine nor any normal person.

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