Along the hectic, congested and dusty Baba Saheb Ambedkar (BSA) Road near Muslim Colony, where several hardware shops jostle for space, stands a curious row of wooden shacks selling heaps of metal items.

The cast-off tools of plumbers, painters, carpenters, construction workers and electricians; machine parts; chains, weights and rods are among the things that find their way here.

These are mostly procured from godowns and scrap shops situated near Chickpet, while home appliances that need repairing such as irons, table fans, TV accessories, tape recorders, rechargeable lights, and other items are bought from local residents who, along with the workmen from whom they get their products, also form their customer base.

Some of the proprietors of these tiny shops can be seen repairing and restoring the old articles assiduously, while others stare in silence at the traffic whizzing by.

Hard to keep up

With the passing of time, their trade seems to be growing less and less sustainable. One of the owners, who did not wish to be named, lamented that business had been bad for the last five years as few were interested in second-hand goods anymore, adding that he was not able to fulfil all of his family’s needs with the money he earned.

Another proprietor said they could not take up alternative professions, as they only knew the work they had inherited from their forefathers.

The vendors don’t earn profits like they did 10 years ago, they say, and many of their wares have gone rusty for want of customers. Nevertheless, they continue to trade here, amidst the dust and mayhem, carrying on in the family tradition.

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