I have known him since birth. He was unmarried, I am not sure if by choice, and had could talk about anything under the sun, and could repair any problems. He made sure all bulbs in the lamp-post of our narrow lane was in order. I dont know if he had any day job, though he fixed any electrical problems of our house, whenever needed.

He was the person, who saved me from floggings of my mom, whenever i broke a new toy. Like some pot bellied lungi-clad Batman he would materialize and lecture my mom about how beating a growing-up kid can severely damage his brain (his lectures were always long and winding, but were always based on a profoundly simple principle), and thereby encourage me to go on more ravaging rampages of breaking stuff. Soon I graduated from toys to furniture and then tube-lights(much to his secret pleasure I suppose),  and he kept on telling me how breaking down things is an essential part of learning. Destruction and creation, genesis and catastrophe!

As I was grew up, i thought i would outgrow the reaches of his knowledge, but I was wrong. For his was a pool of infinite wisdom. Once I remember, I had locked up a room by accident with the key still inside it. I tried for hours to manipulate  the lock, and even tried to fish it out of an open window. When he arrived on the scene(for he had to) he prompty sawed off a bar off the window, and pulled in his 42 inch belly through it, and opened the door from the inside. Coming out victorious, he chided me, “You know, I, as a man of technology, can do anything.”

It went on for twenty three years. Be it broken microwave ovens, be it snake attacks, television, computers, bee hives on trees, kali puja, street brawls, he was there to solve it all. He served egg rolls in Durga Puja, and crispy golden jalebis in Rathayatra after setting up shop on the main road. Everything was free for me, luckily.And the unending heroic tales, and long sermons of how nothing is impossible under his steady hand.

I had not seen him for quite some time now, and frankly, hadn’t been too aware of his prolonged absence. Last I met him when he was cycling idly down one of the billboard lit streets, shadow fighting pot-holes. He joked around with me, and then sermonised how important industrial development is for everyone. I dont know if he was fighting obsolescence, or he was looking for more lamppost to put bulbs on, or fixing some black and white television in some nondescript room, i don’t know.

What he told me, without revealing much being the staunch communist he has been, was that he was getting late for his Satsang and needed to push.

The species is extinct.

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