It was a humid afternoon in Pune; localities know the exact condition on streets. I was out there clicking pictures with my Cannon 600D. It’s the best camera if the lighting conditions are good. I clicked pictures of juice makers, tea sellers, and other street hawkers; the backbenchers of society. Something that caught my attention on that humid afternoon was a ‘cycle repairman’ near Shanivar Wada.
He was in his late 60’s, his wrinkled skin and white beard told me. Can see him in the photograph, that’s him, the one I have shared above is clicked from the Cannon 600D. His name is ‘Haribhau Waghmare.’ He is working as a cycle repair man since 1975, in Pune. I talked with him for a few minutes; he seemed to be an interesting person. Then, I started digging deeper into his mind, life and story.
Haribhau lost his dad in 1975; that brought him to the profession of repairing bicycles. It supported his family financially and that was enough. He said that “I also tried my hand on truck driving. It paid good enough to a school dropout; but mother thought it was a risky profession” that brought Haribhau back to the cycle shop. He was paid Rs. 1 for a day’s labor, that’s something close to the cost of a candy today. Haribhau had even tried entrepreneurship after gaining few years of experience. First few years were good for the business; Pune was a city of bicycle riders at that time. Haribhau thought his economical and social condition is about to change. But luck failed to be on his side this time too; the shop was lost in a family dispute.
Haribhau, looks to be worried about the current situation in Pune; he thinks people should be using more bicycles than fueled motors. It is good for the environment, but more than that it offers health benefits to the bicycle rider. Cycle is the most selfless mode of transport as per the repairman’s understanding.
I asked Haribhau what does the work mean to him? He replied “It just serves me two times meal, that’s it”. I then asked him if the meal is satisfying enough? He got confused to this question perhaps, but an incomplete smile gave me the answer. Then after a moment he said “I think life decides fate for some, no one can change it”. He smiled after the answer! I smiled back.
I think that day I got something more than a photograph, it was a life lesson from the cycle repairman who’s working since 1975.