Fix the hole in your argument, Puncturewallah!

Fix the hole in your argument, Puncturewallah!


Rasheed Kappan

For the calendar-hooked, the year-end offered a bonanza, a mighty reason to turn cyclist. As the wheels of time come full circle, they resolutely recycle their resolutions. Yes, that’s more mechanical, even if the Earth, in its terrestrial wisdom, gives it a revolutionary tweak around the Sun!

Riding the celebratory wave, the New Year injects a new energy into copy-paste. This year’s darling baby is last year’s clone. So is Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Women’s Day. Recycling the same old stories, screaming ‘total recall,’ scribes turn eco-friendly, too. That’s the green power of the cycle, pedalled back and forth.

At the pinnacle of its power, the cycle spells sustainability, responsibility, mobility with a cause. But that power rests on two wheels, cushioned by fragile tyres, both prone to puncture and rupture! Riding the bumpy paths, nailed and knocked, battered and bruised, the tyres retire.

Obsessed with the economy, of words, most would frown with justified angst. ‘Puncture,’ with two syllables? That’s so downmarket, so much of a mouthful! The cycle’s flashy, classy cousins would instead fall for the four-letter ‘flat.’ Some might go even higher, pitch for a classier term: ‘deflated.’

But can facts change? A punctured cycle tyre, that does remain the mother of all flat tyres. The first among wheels, the first humble step on the mobility ladder. Spot a hole in this argument? Head straight to the Puncturewallah, ubiquitous, economical and ready to fix.

He is just a determined walk away. Or a frantic call away. Blessed with the wisdom of generations, the puncture man takes a deep look, strips the tyre, extracts the tube with clinical ease. He dips it in water and awaits the first air bubble surface spiritedly. Watch his face light up with glee, impressed at the find of the day: The puncture!

The man then doubles up as feeler and healer, cutter and paster, doctor and engineer, bender and finisher. Minutes later, the puncture fixed, the wheel re-tubed, the tube refilled, and you are ready to go. But as you pedal away, you give a cyclical look around the place. You spot a pattern but look away.

On the VIP fast lane, the Puncturewallah is a blur, a mere blip, a sidelined symbol of down-market drudgery. For the privileged on flight mode, breezing past grounded realities, bypassing direct contact has a fitting alibi: Why bother about puncture when you are working tyre-lessly for the Nation!

Nation first, but the cyclical wheel could be next. For, these spokespersons have this compulsive obsession with spokes. The more spokes they put in the other party’s wheels, the better they are as spokespersons. That’s a trick, a cultivated habit, immune to most punctures.

Puncture, to be precise. Not ‘pancher’, not ‘puncher’ as every mechanic shop worth its tyres would proclaim in big, bold letters with pride. Frankly put, to get the spelling ‘Right’ is a gift of privilege. That demands the right schooling, the right diction, the right way to hold the Wren & Martin!

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