It is 11:00 am and Hyderabad’s roads are crowded with people rushing to work, looking forward to another day at the office. On Begumpet Road, under the blazing sun, Waseem’s work has already begun. His shop is set up: a stack of tyres of various sizes, a set of tools arranged on what can only be described as discarded piece of stage furniture and a board that says ‘Panchar shop, Call-me’ with a phone number.
Three bikers have already stopped to have their tyres changed or repaired; this is a very busy time for him. If anyone going on Punjagutta road has an unprecedented puncture, he is the man to go to. The offices in the area – The Hindu , Axis Bank and a few others – have Waseem to thank to ensure their employees do not get held up with flat tyres.
Waseem, who lives in Nampally begun working here, right next to the Indian Oil petrol bunk, eight years ago and has now become a permanent fixture there; providing a much needed service to stranded commuters.
“I taught myself how to repair tyres by observing people at a workshop. Ab mere ko woh A to Z maalum (I now know the A-Z of it),” he says about how he picked up the tricks of his trade. This is evident in how he goes about his work. Using a strip of sandpaper, a solution and ‘stickers’ and not pausing a moment, he goes about his fixing, repairing and checking each tyre, not spending more than five minutes with each customer.
However, this dexterity is not enough to combat the crowd that is coming in today. As he works on the rear wheel of a Tata Indica, a Maruti 800 pulls up. As he finishes with the Maruti, a biker is already waiting.
Not all days are as lucrative though. “Yesterday I had only two customers; one in the morning and another in the evening. But I had to wait here all day for just those two people.”
Waseem has an eleven-hour workday; he can be seen at his spot from 10 a.m. to about 9:30 p.m. Why not work in a workshop where he will be ensured of work everyday? “I considered that but the salary you get working for someone will be very low. That’s why I started this on my own. Even though some days are slow, what I get is mine to keep.”
(A weekly feature on the men and women who make Hyderabad what it is)
A mechanic, he is a one-man puncture repair service
I taught myself how to repair tyres by observing people at a workshop. Ab mere ko woh A to Z maalum
Location: Begumpet, Near The Hindu Office
Occupation: Puncture repair man