Thursday, 14 March 2019

The economics of the cycle shop under the tree

A cycle puncture again. Took my cycle to my cycle repair person. The one legged man with his shop, a small wooden box, under the shade of the neem tree. At the side of the busy road. Where fancy cars whiz by.

And yet, there are simpler people who also live in rich spaces. And he usually has a friend sitting with him. Chatting. Or a customer with his, her cycle.

I always wonder. When ones livlihood space does not even have a roof, what does it mean on rainy days. No food those days ? 

I have never had the audacity to ask ...

He welcomed he with his cheery smile. Adjusted my cycle pump which also I had taken along and made it work. Repaired the puncture.

I asked him if he would overhaul my cycle one day. He said that was not needed, the bearings were good. And if I gave it to him for a day, he would wash it with kerosene oil and clean out all the rust stains. That that would do.

I promised to bring it on a day I didn't need it.

For this 1/2 hour work, he charged only 30/-.

The economies of this land. Designed to maintain the poor in their poverty, and me in my privilege.
How much longer ...

I called an auto as I was running very late. The auto driver said 50/- for the 2 km distance to the busstop. I got in.

It was the standard rate. The 'fair' rate. After which one may make a magnanimous tip.

This rate that would maintain him in his poverty, and me in my privilege. That would keep the class divisions unchallenged.

That is how we have structured fairness in my country. Justice. Status quo.

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