I was on the wheel and suddenly my wife pointed to the left front wheel and said, “we have a flat tyre”. I had already started the engine and was about to fire up the USB with my favourite podcasts. I stepped out and went to see the tyre. Yes it was flat.
My immediate thought was “shall we take Uber?”My inner voice cribbed “how will you hear those podcasts which you had downloaded a few hours ago.” I had planned to listen to them along with my wife. I caved in and decided to roll up my sleeves. I went to the boot and picked up all the equipments and the backup tyre which was bolted down nicely in the boot. I removed it and like a confident mechanic, I kept the tools and the tyre down. I started wondering “what next?” thanks to my wife’s constant instructions. She was pointing at the instructions on the jack for me to follow. Over all, I was clear “I am thoroughly confused”. I generally do not go by instruction manuals.
I took a momentary pause and recollected a past experience where the mechanic had held the jack near to the front wheel portion and by rotating the spanner he had raised the vehicle some feet above the ground. After some trial and error I managed to fit the jack and rotated the spanner. I felt happy that step 1 was accomplished.
I thought removing the wheel will be very easy. That is when the real shock came. I was unable to remove the flat wheel. Forget about removing, I could not move even a single bolt. My wife did inspire me to stand , jump and kick and we tried various stunts at the wheel! Then her advice came just like that , “why don’t we just play a youtube video of how to change a flat tyre.” I replied “Let the video wait, I will listen to my audio”
I recollected a speech by Preseyan Vasilav, which he gave in the International Speech Contest titled “Changed by a tyre”. The key message was “reach out”. My wife too said, “Why don’t you get one of those boys who wash the cars to help?” She had given up on my mechanic knowledge! I decided to reach out.
I went straight to the guy who presses our clothes and I saw a gentleman sitting and chatting with him. I enquired, if he had any experience of changing tires. He immediately switched off the soulful music he was listening to and accompanied me to the parking place. Since we had by then lowered the jack from the earlier position, he did the second part of the job first. His technique was amazing. He stood on that piece of rod and removed the wheel in a jiffy. Under 5 minutes he removed the flat tire and rolled it to me! He looked at the position of the jack and mentioned that it needs to get into a certain groove. He finished the job in the next 5 minutes. As he was cleaning his hands and was ready to go, I offered him some money. He outrightly refused. Shekhar my “man friday” smiled and said,”do not bother, brother”. That moment was so enriching.
Next up, I decided to look for a tyre repair shop. We found one soon. As I was in the middle of calls, the tyre repair man made good use of my visual cues and finished the job quickly and asked for a princely sum. I was embarassed and told him that you did not tell me. He said “you were on the call brother.” I replied, “that is not a good reason brother.” We negotiated a little and I paid the money. Shekar took no money on a request call and the repair guy took good money while I was on the call.
I learned some lessons today:
- We need to build additional skills in life. Even though Shekhar owns a two wheeler he knew how to change the car tyre.
- We do not need to always follow a particular order. Sometimes what works is what is right.
- Help others and stay humble. Shekar was humble and was ready to help others even if that entailed going beyond the call of duty.
- If you don’t pay attention people will take advantage.
- You need the right person for the right job. I was trying to change the tyre but I was not doing it the right way.
Finally never let difficulties stop you from rolling up your sleeves, getting down on your knees and dirtying your hands.
When you can’t do the job, reach out. You will face the duality of life. Someone may help you or take advantage. One will give you comfort , the other will take away that comfort. In life, we make progress with this friction between comfort and discomfort, pain and pleasure, gain and loss.