#154, Tapubhai, a knife sharpener
On an ordinary Sunday, I saw a man working on a strange machine. At first glance, it was not the machine that drew my attention. It was the smile on his face. What made this rugged, old man so happy? I was almost jealous. I am not one of those curious people, yet I wanted to know his secret. My mother told me how he is often seen in our colony, sharpening knives and scissors, for everyone, from the household women to the fruit vendors. He did it all, with his strange, old machine that he peddled with his foot. He sharpened knives between two wheels in motion based on principles of friction.
I walked up to him, noticing the subtlety and the complete bliss with which he used his hands and feet to add sharpness to these common instruments. In a world where businesses are constantly looking for measurable value additions and yet the road never seems to end for them, this man seemed to me a new form of enterprise, one engaged in providing a service so minor and yet so majorly important even in today’s use-and-throw culture. I asked and he replied with the same smile.
“My name is Tapubhai and I was given this instrument by my father. I’m working since then across Saurastra and Kutch.
I had to lift this heavy instrument while travelling so I made some changes and made it lightweight, more comfortable and easy to use so I can pass it to next generation, my son.
While doing my job I over hear housewives complaining about their hard lives despite of good income. I feel blessed and satisfied in whatever the God has given me. I never even argue when they bargain for a smaller amount like Rs 5. I feel way richer than them.
I have my own family now in many streets of Rajkot irrespective to the religion or status they carry. They do call on my son’s phone if they need service and I am out my son reaches to them.”
If you need me, here’s my son’s number: +91 81419 75677.