The mechanic who’d come over to repair my broken fender, stood in front of my car, “Sir!” he said happily, “as soon as I got sahibs phone call, I took my spanners, pliers, hammer and screwdriver…”
“And jack!” I reminded him.
“Yes sir, and jack, and came over here!”
“Why don’t you just say, you came here with your toolki..”
“No sir, no sir, don’t say that word!” shrieked the mechanic, “I have a twenty – two year old daughter at home. I don’t want her to go to jail!”
“I’m not sending your daughter to jail, we’re just talking about your tools, your spanner, and screwdriver and hammer..”
“And jack sir!”
“Yes, yes, and jack, and putting them into a toolki…”
“Sir! No, they are listening, if they hear you, they will think you are from Sweden!”
“Everybody knows I am not from Sweden!” I said.
“Sir, now, we don’t know who is Indian and who is trying to break our country!”
“Break our country?” I asked surprised.
“Yes sir, you also could be a swedishionist!”
“A what? You mean a seditionist?” I asked.
“Sir please, don’t say such words loudly, I heard only fifteen minutes you can speak to your daughter in jail! What I will do with only fifteen minutes?”
I looked at my broken fender, and at the poor mechanic who was on the verge of a collapse.
“How much?” I asked.
“How much to repair my broken fender?”
“Fifty thousand rupees sir?”
“What?” I screamed and I saw my neighbours peeping out of their windows, “Fifty thousand rupees to repair a bumper? Even a new one is one tenth the cost! Are you mad?”
“Then why are you charging me this atrocious amount?”
“That is how much a Supreme Court lawyer charges per hour sir, and I will need at least four to five more broken bumpers to get her out of jail!”
“But she is not in jail!” I told him gently.
“But she will soon be sir!” wept my mechanic.
“Why, because she is twenty-two years old?” I asked chuckling.
“No sir, this morning, she could not find her college books bag, and took my Spanner, Screwdriver, Hammer Box instead to class sir!”
“You mean your toolki..”
“Sir, sir, don’t say the word,” screamed my mechanic as a siren sounded in the distance and he fainted.
The next day I drove with a broken fender, realizing it was not just mechanics with Screwdriver, Spanner, and Hammer boxes who now lived in what was once a fearless country, where one could get a fender repaired without a mechanic fainting on his job if the kit where he kept his tools was mentioned aloud..!
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