Pune is a city of enterprise. Every few yards you pass a man or woman selling something useful.
a cool drink, coconuts, and other eats…
I met Madhav tailor soon after we moved to Pune. I’d lost a lot of weight and my jeans were always slipping down my hips. I’m no belt person either.
I gave him the jeans and he took one look at me and tightened the waist in a few minutes. And he also did the same for a top. Both fitted divinely and I’ve been a fan of his ever since.
Also, we’re besties. I can stop by, even after a gap of many months, and we carry on as if we’ve always known each other. I made the big mistake of raving about him to a lady who promptly took him a bag to fix. He lost it! And it was an expensive or memorable bag. Madhav Tailor is one of the many in India, like me, who value freedom over money.
Displaced by some riots which took place in his youth, he learned tailoring and made a living. Along the way, he’s also worked for others. And found out that it was not his cup of tea.
Here, he works on his own terms, mostly, surrounded by friends: a key maker, a cobbler, a boy who runs a second hand book stall and many other such who ply a humble trade and, thus, fighting the system, keep their self-respect.
Before them the busy road races people past as if life itself were unfolding for their delight.
or someone who will fix your bicycle.
Alas, I would not dare take a photo of the latter – at least, the one I take my cycle to. He’s got character, like all of the above, and I’d take a picture of such a one only when we are both comfortable with such a freedom.
Pune is not too vertical and these men are as proud as the Puneite who owns three helicopters.