It has been over 6 months since the cycle was gathering dust. Overcoming all inertia and procrastination of a lazy Saturday evening, thanks to a wonderful chai made by wife, I dusted the cycle with an old rag and walked it to the cycle shop next to Archies at Good Luck chowk. How the cycle shops have dwindled over the years, sigh!
The three guys in the shop are working - one repairing an old Atlas Goldline; another servicing a Trek; and the third fixing a puncture of an Activa - yes, probably signifies how a cycle shop's customers have changed in today's times.
Since all three are busy, I am asked to wait for 15 minutes. I watch the crowded chowk - buses, cars n bikes moving endlessly one after the other. Quite a few pedestrians jostling for space and walking across the roadside bhelwala, fruitwala, chanewala.
As I await my turn, the guys have a customary tea break at 6pm sharp. They wash their greased hands and enjoy the cuppa. The oldest guy gives me a "I know you, you have been coming to our shop for many, many years, but not often recently" smile.
He starts talking about religion, God and how people today bribe God, expecting what they desire in favour of a bribe that they offer. And he wonders if instead the same person took better care of his parents. He says that parents take care of their kids for a good 25 years - raising them, educating them, providing them with the best that they can. And the same child then doesn't care for the aged folks. The oldies have forsaken their friends while bringing up the kids; now when they are old, it's difficult to make new friends while the old friends have moved on.
He finishes his tea and gets back to work. It's his last job of the day. When he completed the job, the Trek cycle looks as good as new. There is satisfaction and pride in the old eyes.
He changes his work clothes, and takes out his own cycle to go home. And I wonder, if he will have a comforting conversation with his son, or maybe an old friend that makes his evening as pleasant as the November evening in Pune.
Or maybe he visits a temple on his way to offer a bribe to Him.