Delhiwale: Time keeps passing

Time trods through the worst of times. It moves ahead, sometimes with the pace of a rabbit, sometimes of a turtle. In time, time alters lives.

And yet things stay the same.

This is Durga Dev’s conclusion. In his 60s, he has a close relationship with the technical aspects of time. The watchmaker’s establishment at this street spot in Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar has been running like a faithful dependable clock for more than 40 years. It comprises of a counter and a chair. The counter’s glass cabinet is filled with clocks and watches.

Nothing has changed for Durga Dev all these years, he says. Time has stilled for him, he murmurs, as he executes a delicate surgery into the innards of a wristwatch with his assortment of dainty tools. Not even the pandemic made a difference. “The world shook, not me.” His voice betrays no pride at his resilience. He however concedes of receiving fewer customers these days— “dhanda manda hain.” Looking around, he says, “I keep sitting, time keeps passing.”

It is evening and electric lights have sparkled up this part of the market, making it appear more interesting than it is. To a passerby, the workshop does not trigger the awe caused by similar enterprises in Old Delhi. A repair shop in the Walled City’s Galli Chooriwallan has its walls covered from top to bottom with old pendulum wall clocks. All look like they were originally hanging at London’s King’s Cross station when the queen was still a princess.

Durga Dev opens a box. It is filled with bits and pieces of old watches. He uses these parts to repair the watches that customers bring for repair.

As he prepares to wind down for the day, the mild-mannered man takes out an old newspaper clipping from inside the glass case. It has his photo. The paper has yellowed, but the clipping is well-preserved and is laminated for longevity. Durga Dev solemnly returns the precious object to its place. He will now walk back to his home in Baldev Nagar. “I shall come back tomorrow morning at 9.”

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Delhiwale: Time keeps passing

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Delhiwale: Time keeps passing

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