A diminutive structure jutting out onto the street in the Chikkadpally Market is the destination of many city shutterbugs when their flashguns go kaput.
There, sitting in two corners of the shop surrounded by flashes of all sizes and makes, two women pore over the gizmos, alter their circuits, throw the flash light four to five times with the brusqueness that comes only with years of experience, and identify the problem.
When the owner returns after a few days to recover the repaired flash, he or she will also get a few pieces of expert advice free of charge.
Y. Sri Kiran and M.Sirisha have been in the trade of repairing camera flashguns for the past ten years. Their command over the light mechanics is their sole prop in a profession so unusual for women. For the past 45 years, their shop ‘New Bobtronics’ has remained the undisputed haven in the city for flashguns of all makes.
“The shop was started by our maternal uncle decades ago. We used to visit his house every day for tuitions. After the lessons, we would wait for him to drop us at our place, during which, we would observe what he did with camera flashes,” recalled Sirisha.
With his sons showing no interest in the skill, uncle M.B.Babaiah began to train the girls after they finished graduation. What began as apprenticeship with the uncle became a skill that would earn them enormous fame in the photographers’ circles.
“We have recently got trained in fixing FXR digital lights too. Ours is the only exclusive flash repairing shop in the whole state, though those selling cameras usually tinker with flashes too,” claims Sri Kiran.
Apart from mending and servicing, these sisters also assemble flashguns with aplomb. In their hands, the appurtenances would be incorporated with features of the most advanced technology, and come with one-year warranty.
“During wedding season, we open the shop at 7 a.m. and leave at 10 p.m. We are able to do so much work because unlike men, we can sit for hours without moving for tea or cigarettes,” says Sirisha.
Tail piece: neither of the sisters knows anything about photography!