I was trying to restore an Old Janata watch which i found lying neglected in a toolbox at a friend’s house. I had talked about it in one of my earlier blog (http://hmtwatches.blogspot.in/2014/03/the-case-of-hmt-watch-in-tool-box.html). I was looking for a crown that matched its age and this quest of mine kept me busy during most of the weekends. On one such weekend, I made a trip to an old watch repair shop. After making the required inquiries I decided to move on and continue with my search. As I started from the shop an old gentleman whom I had seen at the shop approached me and asked:
Old Man - “Saab, ghadi kharidte kya ?” (Sir,do you want to buy watches ?).
Me - “Kaun si ghadi hai tumhare paas” (which watch do you have?)
Old Man - “pachhas ghadi hai…chaabi waala hai aur shell wala hai” (I have 50 watches some of them are winding watches others are quartz)
Me – “Tumhare paas kahan se aayi…chori ka hai kya” (How did you get them..were these stolen from somewhere”)
Old Man – “Nahin Saab, mera khud ka hai..mai gaurmant department mein kaam karta tha…abi retire ho gaya…paisa chaiye iske liye ghadi bechne ko shop pe aaya tha..wo kum daam bola..socha tum ko hona to pura lot le lo..accha daam me de dunga”. (No sir, they are mine..i used to work in a government department..now I am retired..i am in need of money so came to the shop to sell the watches..he is giving me a bad deal…I saw you and thought you might be interested and decided to offer you the entire lot”)
Me – “Bade miyan..mai apne shauk ko pura karne ki liye ghadi kharidta hu…bechne ke liye nahi…pachaas ghadi ka mai kya karunga..aur mujhe quartz watch nahi chahihye..hmt ka koi watch hai kya ?” (Old chap…I buy watches for my collection..and not for selling…what would I do with fifty watches..and I am not interested in quartz watches...do you have any HMT watches?)
Old Man – “do char hain..mere ghar chalkar dekh lo..mai idhar paas mein rehta hu” (I have three-four of them…come to my house and take a look..i stay close by)
Me – “Mera paas tumhare ghar jaane ka time nahi hai..idhar hi ghadi le aao (I don’t have the time to visit your house bring here your watches and we’ll see)
Old man – “Paas mein hi hai saab..aadhe ghante mein aa jayenge…tumko jame to lena varna koi baat nai” (My house is closeby sir..take whatever you like and its ok if you don’t like them”)
So we took an auto rickshaw and started the journey to his home. During the journey he told me that he used to work in the secretariat and got these watches as gifts from his bosses or visitors. As we talked the auto took us through the by lanes of old Bangalore until we stopped at a place from where we started walking through a maze of narrow lanes till we finally reached his home. It was a small house with beautiful rangolis made at the gate.
Me – “Mai yahin hu..tum ghadi le aao” (I stay here go bring the watches)
Old Man – “accha saab” (Ok sir)
He returned with a tin box in his hand and two chairs. He opened the box and handed it over to me. The box was full of watches . Most of them were quartz watches from unknown companies. He also had some old Seiko and citizen watches, which i did not fancy. Then in the box I found four HMT watches. These were really nice watches –HMT Rohini (manual winding), HMT Samrat, Kanchan and Kanchan deluxe(automatics). These watches were aged and it was quite apparent that they had stood the test of time. I checked and found that all of them were working fine. After a few rounds of negotiations we agreed on a price acceptable to both of us.I was quite happy to add HMT Samrat and Rohini to my collection.These are quite rare watches and I have been searching them for some time.
As I handed over the money to him he said “Saab, mujhe bahut khushi hai ki mai aapko ye ghaadi diya…dukanwala iska purja nikal kar spare mein bech dalta tha..tumhare paas ye ghadi salamat rahega” (Sir, I am very happy that you are taking these watches…the guy at the shop would have dismantled them and sold them as spares..with you these watches will be safe).
I thanked him and let my contact details with him. After that my old friend helped me get a few more watches that his friends had, but let’s keep those stories for some other day.