Small Town, Big Heart

There was a message on my phone. My debit card was expiring on Feb 22 and a new one would be issued shortly. I realised this debit card was my business linked card and the address listed was of Mumbai.

I did the next best thing which was to check online if I could redirect it to Ooty. Search as much as I could I couldn’t find an option to route the new debit card to Ooty.

Well then the easiest thing I sensed was to visit the Ooty bank branch and put a hand written request. 

So after breakfast I got into my trusted Tata Nano car, possibly the world’s smallest car and slammed closed the door. 


Stunned by the sound I looked behind and to my horror noticed the passenger window pane had smashed to smithereens. Glass particles were lying all over the back seat and the ground.

As I got out and gathered my wits I was trying to make sense of the cause. Was it the excess rain which caused the glass pane and its rubber casing to be compressed and then crash when I slammed the front door?

Perplexed I pulled out my phone and called Praveen, the helpful Engineer at the Tata showroom. I made a small prayer because a few months back Praveen had shared that the Ooty showroom was closing as they had issues with the Landlord.

‘Hi Praveen, I have a problem and I need your help’, I buzzed 

‘Good morning Sir, what happened’, he asked.

I explained my predicament and then waited for the verdict.

‘Unfortunately we have closed down and yes I know there is no Tata showroom in town for now. But what you can do is speak to the Mettupalayam branch. They will assist you’, he summarized. ‘Speak with Mr Mubarak’, were his parting words.

Mettupalayam is at the foothills of Nilgiris. In less than 2 hours you rapidly move down from 7200 feet to 1000 feet. I shuddered at the thought of taking my small run-around car on a brutal up and down trip of that sort.

But I had no options. A local mechanic or repair shop may not be able to procure the right Nano passenger glass pane for one.

I called Mubarak.

We spoke and he heard me patiently and then I sent him the car pictures. 

” Ill order the car window from Coimbatore and then it will take some time to fix it. When do you want to come down to Mettupalayam?, ” he enquired.

“Errr, do I have to bring the car down ?”, I was half pleading.

“Well if you want we can have someone pick it from Ooty and then sent back once the job is done.” he offered a token of solace.

” Ok. Please order the part. I  so wish there was a way to fix it in Ooty. It breaks my heart to think of driving her up and down the hills. I don’t even take her to Coonoor.” was my gutted voice.

” Yes, I understand. Let me order the part then ill come back to you.” he consoled.

And so ended the Monday episode with me taking the other bigger car and painfully parking and getting my chores and bank task completed.

Tuesday passed and Wednesday came the more alarming global news hitting local shores. Corona in its new Omicron avatar was raging swiftly in India. The State government issued Sunday would be a complete lockdown and night curfew orders were mandated immediately.

Well it always starts slow before the restriction screws tighten further. I was now feeling the hurry to get this pending task done. Maybe if the glass part comes to Mettupalayam ill just drive down this Friday or Saturday and get the repair complete.

Today Thursday morning at 10am I got a call. It was Mubarak. I wondered what news awaited me

‘Good morning Sir, I have got the part’, he announced. Yipee my heart jumped with hope.

‘And I’m coming to Ooty by bus. Ill carry the part and I have spoken with a local mechanic in Ooty who has all the tools. We will fix the glass part there’. 

I was speechless. 

“Really Mubarak. Wow I am so grateful to you.”, was all I could mutter.

So off I drove at half past noon to the designated meeting point. And yes Mubarak was there. We did the corona times fist pump greeting with me effusing deep gratitude.

He opened the rear door with the damaged window and then noticed something. He bent and pulled out a big spanner that was lying in the rear car door pocket.

“Was this always kept here?”, he quizzed

‘ Yes’, I confirmed.

“That’s what probably caused the glass to shatter. When you closed your front door hard, it would have reverberated on impact and affected the glass pane.” 

So one mystery was solved.

They both got to work. And on a hunch I walked to Virtues Bakery and packed some snacks for them. The winter Sun was beautiful and the usual cool mountain air gave company as an hour soon passed and the job was done.

“How much Mubarak for the part, labour and your travel.” It was that moment where accounts needed to be settled. 

“The part and labour added up comes to Rs 1,800/-. Don’t bother about travel expenses.”

That’s all ! 

I couldn’t believe it. Now my gratitude had reached the Moon. I tipped Mubarak the best I could.

::: This was the only job that he had taken the ride up for. He was heading back to Mettupalayam 6000 feet below with the next available bus.

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