SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Musing over our childhood days in Saraswathipuram, my mind goes to the time when bicycles were a vital mode of transport, among the young and the elderly.
Which meant that you had to go to one or the other ‘cycle shop’ in the neighbourhood for repairs, routine maintenance and ‘blow’. ‘Blow’ being the euphemism for checking tyre pressure!
In the same line as ‘coffee pudi’ Vasu’s angadi, between the 4th and 5th main roads, was a ‘cycle shop’, of which a lean, dark-skinned guy was the head honcho.
His name was Andava.
Andava it turned out was not necessarily a man who believed in upholding business ethics. Instead, he was out to make a quick buck from all those who entered his lair!
"Andava, swalpa blow hodyappa," we would intone. Quite surreptitiously he would go around the parked bicycle, as if checking its every part. Then he would lift the cycle by its handle and thump it down to the ground a few times. He would turn the handle vigorously a few times and then slowly reveal his ‘diagnosis’.
"Cuppu, conu, ballsu hogidyalla mari… Appa-nge helappa…Change madisbidodu olledu…" Andava would whisper, and for a whole generation, "cuppu, conu, ballsu" became words to be dreaded.
Panic-stricken we would invariably rush back home, seek some money and return promptly to Andava’s ‘shop’ to get the necessary repairs done! After all, cycles had to be maintained!
It was long before we came to realise that the scoundrel was making fast cash out of us with the same refrain, ‘cuppu, conu, ballsu’!
Very true! I guess all of us had our own Andavas in our childhood :). I used to spend so much money getting my cycle ‘serviced’, I can’t even imagine doing that now!
Also, how much money we gave to this particular cycle shop, to ‘hire’ a suite of chikka cycle that it possessed, before we actually graduated to bigger ones. Saraswathipuram was actuaally explored by all of us on the cylces that were hired from Andava’s shop.
This story sounds so familiar & nowadays I see Andavas lurking amongst the car & two-wheeler service technicians. Most of the times the story follows the same familiar pattern. You go to get the car serviced or for some routine maintenance. But after a short while, there is the dreaded phone call – “Would you like to discuss some things we found while servicing your car?” And by the time the conversation is over your wallet is poorer. At the end of it, you are still left wondering if really the problems mentioned were taken care of or if avaru namage sumne topi haakidara.
It is wrong to tar everyone with the same brush and often the repair people are only being pro-active by pointing out problems with your vehicle. But having gone through the andava syndrome a few times, I have become more suspicious than is necessary.
Well, I don’t know the name of my ‘Andava’, but there definitely was one.
And, when I take my car for servicing, I invariably end up talking with ‘Andava’ ‘s EVERY TIME. Almost invariably, I have to decline the tens of different ‘fixes’ which the stealership wants to make.
Growing up in Jayanagar 4th Block in Bangalore, we had our own version of Andava.. a muslim “gentleman” who had a “shop on the street. He was our cycle expert and would always suggest an overhaul (it was pronounced overall) our cycles.
The minute we said yes (bunch of Jayangar kids from Vijaya High Scool), the cycle would be all dismantled. The only way it would be put together was if we agreed to all his suggestions.. our parents kept wondering why the cycle was being “overalled” every 15 days… but our belief in the cycle shop guy was so much that we used to think our parents were being cheapskates by denying us the 25 rupees the guy demanded. A small price to pay to have a gleaming cycle..
Of course there would be additional things thrown in like the Areoplane on the front mudgaurd (ugh..), tassles for the handle …
My grandfather Padmanabha Vadyar alias Mysoorappa used to cycle all round Mysore on his priestly duties till the ripe old age of 80. He swore by Ghafoor at Siddappa Square not just for “blow” and “bend” but for “overall”, too.
Cycles! How I miss them.. It was a wonderful form of exercise and we did it unknowingly.. I wish I could get those cycle days back.. My friends and I would have a cycle race and we have pretty much explored most parts of Mysore in the cycle. Up until the last year of graduation we used only cycles. Cheap maintenance and very reliable.. If there were lots of cycles crowded in front of a house, be sure that it was some tuition class. It was a good form of exercise that kids these days hardly get..!
Nagu, I have seen your grandfather some to my house in his cycle..
Aha…what a beautiful dream…It has been long time…I still remember those refreshing days of cycling near Kukanallikere and Saraswatipuram swimming pool raste…
It has been long time…I am not sure if namma mudinna mysore is same or even here we are seeing bangalorization….