“It will be ready in Eggjactly two hours sir!”
After eight hours, you realize that the value of Eggjactly in that sentence is six hours.However, those eight hours earned a brand new plywood fitted faux-leather back cushion,a soft fabric cushion for the driver seat, perfectly sized rain coat for the sides of Rickshaw and two speaker boxes for audio. All this, eight hours ago, was non-existent and I had already spent three hours looking for the right place to get it. These are not items that are readily available on the top shelf in neighborhood store. They had to be custom-made on the spot. And above all, Waheed shared a piece of his life that is worth more than my eight hours and all his employees were as excited for our trip as any Rickshaw runner.
Waheed is a third generation Automobile After-market parts owner. They do audio, video, special bumpers, UV layers on most automobiles. He has lived in Bengaluru all his life which in itself is a rarity in an immigrant heavy Banglore. He has 14 people working for him and he is off just one day in the month. The fourth Sunday. He has two daughters and one son. When I told him we are doing this for a charity for girls in India, his genuine affection grew even stronger. He immediately ordered a “Cutting” chai which in itself was worth two hours wait.
There were about twenty customers who came to his desk as I waited for my custom-order and not once he got flustered with the constant questions, demands and bargains. He simply said,”Barosa kijiye. Ek saal guarantee! Hum yahi Hain!” (“Trust me! One year guarantee, I am right here if there’s any problem!”).
You suddenly realize how business works in India. It has absolutely nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the person selling the product.His reputation. Trustworthiness. That’s the most important currency. Every one of those twenty customers purchased what Waheed suggested, and strangely, only two of them asked for an invoice. There was no computer or software tallying the inventory, no special Analytics on usage/forecast projection or management watching over those employees to make sure they are working efficiently.
They are there as part of a community. It’s not a workplace but a fabric of their social space. It is not a job but an institution where they learn the tricks of the trade to start their own enterprise in few years!
An entrepreneur’s dream work shop!
As I finally left his store after six hours, he waved along with all his employees profusely apologizing for the delay!
Thank you Waheed for your generosity and good wishes!