Mubarak Meter Store on Chandini Chowk Lane in Shivajinagar is a rare find
A small shop on the busy Chandini Chowk Lane, opposite Russell Market, in Shivajinagar, the Mubarak Meter Store is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. Every nook and cranny of this cool and dark store is filled with old meters and head lights and clocks. Run by Mohammed Ali, this store is a rare find. The store repairs meters as its main trade and specialises in providing spares, hard ware and the bodyline for vintage and vehicles.
“I have liked antique cars since childhood and turned this passion into a profession,” says Mohammed Ali, genially. His father ran a store selling army and military fatigues and after his death, Mohammed Ali opened this store.
At first, he used to get the meters from old dump yards to work with and then slowly started collecting the other scraps too. In the last decade, he has shifted his interest to selling spares to people who want to repair old vehicles.
“When people repair old vehicles, they need spares and that is when they come to me. I have spares for vehicles of all brands. The oldest I have is the whole meter set of a Ford car from 1947. If I do not have a part, I try and get it for them from elsewhere,” he says.
But finding spares for long dead machines is hardly an easy job. “I get most of it from Mumbai,” he says. His customer base, he claims, is spread across the country. “Only a small percentage of my regular customers are from Bangalore,” he says.
The store is mainly run by him and his son and they have another man who does odd jobs. Due to old age, he has now restricted himself to only working with the dealership of the antique parts while his son manages the meter repairs.
Being the only store which deals with spares for vintage cars and also because of his network with other people who work on the other aspects of reconstruction of vintage vehicles, he has no competition to deal with and earns a respectable living.
“The price of spares differs according to the part and brand required. When it comes to meter repairs, we need to open it and see the damage caused and then depending on how much work is necessary, we charge around Rs. 200,” he says.
He calls the meter of a Bullet Smith bike the most difficult meter to repair and is proud of having repaired it himself. He has no other plans of expanding his line of work and though his son works with him now, he has no idea what the future holds for his store. “The running of the store depends on my sons. If they want to, they will. If not, they won’t,” he says, laughing.