A recent consequence of the now monotonous routine of place-pot-on-gas-forget-char was a blown pressure cooker valve, which meant even greater chances of place-pot-of-dal-on-gas-forget-char-OR-watch-it-not-boil-over-AND-not-cook.
So, finally being done with exam duties, I set off on my quest to get back a functioning pressure cooker. I remembered a previous hunt for a place where I could get a spare valve, remembered that it took a longish trek and several unsuccessful visits to stores that stock kitchen ware. So I asked the cab owner-driver for his gyaan, he said any of these shops should have it, I said no, recounted my previous hunt and how it finally led me to a peepal tree under which sat someone who had what I needed. Disbelieving, Mr Cab D (I think he was getting hungry — this was after a drive to Shankar Market and back to retrieve long-forgotten clothes at the tailor’s), said, mujhe de do; I will get it for you, there are many such near my house. And he gave me more gyaan about how such things and services are more easily available in “chhote colonies.”
Sighing over a life-style that was disappearing before my eyes and not wanting to quite give up yet, I tried to remember the place–surely leading out of Kamala Nagar and into–Shakti Nagar? Malka Ganj? Ghanta Ghar?–then suddenly, bingo, I remembered that it was somewhere near Amba Cinema–i.e., near Ghanta Ghar. So, Mr Cab D started toward that direction, saw a shop, drew up near it and said, why don’t you ask there anyway, mil jaayega ji. To mollify him I did, and the shop owner, without batting an eyelid, said, Darwesh ke paas baitha hoga, uske paas sab kuchh hoga. YES! that was the one! and there he was, right across the street, in the corner, under an awning, the eatery Darvesh Corner on one side and a peepal tree on the other. Mr Raju. I told him he was doing a great service with his wares, and he chuckled. Not only did he replace the valve, he also gave me a gasket for the smaller cooker.
And then Mr Cab D gave me even more gyaan about how he often saw people on their bicycles, carrying huge loads of sundry things for repairs, going to where-ever they put up shop for that day, morning, aftenoon. Like in Shankar market, I was told that the chap who would have sewn my bag for me, was there from 7-11 am.
These migrant service providers, who are they, where do they come from, how do their customers find them, how long will they last?