Mithais were laid on the table, neighbours were pouring in, my mother was busy on phone spreading the big news….occasion …my final year engineering result. As I entered the house, looking at the celebrations I felt as though I have topped the university, but the case was far from that.
My mom’s happiness knew no bounds not because of the marks I scored but for the very reason that I completed my engineering and had a job offer from one of the OEMs. She never told this to me before but I knew that she thought that I might drop out of the university to start a garage. She used to insist that I should work with the OEM for at least 2 years and then do what ever I want….
What ever I want? Just to get acquainted with the way garage functions I decided to do internship in Manager kaka’s garage as there was still some time to join the OEM. First day at garage was just fabulous I was introduced to the team as an engineer and that gave me sense of pride for the knowledge I had gained for the past 4 years.
My First assignment – Maintainance of Leaf spring type Rear Suspension.
Manager kaka started, “Remove the bolt carefully, atte should not get damage, then clear the jhoolas and grease them properly. This to me was like a technically sound batsman facing ‘Murlidharan’s doosra’.
After loosening the bolts, slowly remove patte or Kaman pati and ensure shockups are loose. While using hammer take care you don’t hit the dholki. Should you need some more bolts all char ana, pach ana, ath ana bolts are in the rack.
Sun was shining at his brightest and still I could see more number of stars rotating around my head than those seen in the night sky. But manager kaka continues “once you are done with the rear we will move to the front independent suspension”. Suddenly I felt as though my brain has gone into formatting mode with all the technical engineering files getting deleted ….and that too at lightening speed! I gave up and bravely accepted that I didn’t understand anything. Manager kaka smiled and answered atte or in Hindi its chudi means threads, patte or Kaman pati means leaf spring, dholki is for the silencer muffler, jhoolas is for the shackles then I promptly replied “Oh yes and shockups mean shock absorber”!
So far so good, I was learning a new language. As the internship went on, I was subjected to more severe tests and the next test was to get some hardware from nearby store.I asked for M6, M8 & M12 bolts.
The shopkeeper immediately quizzed “ Engineering project han”?
I said “no”.
Prompt came the reply “then….which vehicle”?
“Cello O’ wo to band hogaya,(that’s an outdated model) ok where in Cello” (he meant where does it fit in Cielo).
I remembered manager kaka saying char ana, panch ana etc. and thus I gave all size ‘ana list’ (to his relief), took a Vernier Calliper measured for the sizes and somehow managed to get the correct bolts. With this I thought that now I have got into my comfort zone and mastered the new language.
Everyone in the garage was busy searching a strong rope for towchan meaning towing! But Atmaram from neighbouring garage was insisting that we should use ‘AC gaddi’ as the lead vehicle. I interrupted as why on earth we need an A/c vehicle for towing? …..just to know that it was Tata AC… err…Tata Ace (and I take my words back for mastering THE new language).
Few days later we wanted to drill hole and manager kaka asked me to get tocha… this left me wondering why tochan? Which car are we supposed to tow now? He smiled again and explained tocha that is punch and not tochan. Now this was similar to the tough English grammar!!!!
After my stint with garage for nearly two months, I joined the OEM, I was given an assignment – QFD (technically – Quality Function deployment) or in simple words collecting the customer feedback about their existing vehicle and incorporating their needs / feedback into the design of our new vehicle. The team included some senior managers from various departments and I was the junior most, just observing and writing down the important feedbacks. Somewhere I heard our marketing manager asking a driver “do you need independent front suspension or a rigid one”
The driver answered “sahab ek tagadi gaddi (a strong vehicle)”.
This set of Q & A repeated for couple of times but for me it was time to use the language I had learnt. Politely I chipped in and asked, “ …err.. do you need Patte (leaf spring) or kaychee (Wishbone) type front suspension? With all further details and references and examples the driver answered why patte was preferred for goods carrier than kaychee.
The driver was happy to explain us all his experiences including radiwater (radiator filled with water) type of cooling as seldom they get to flaunt their technical side. The marketing manager was happy because he could complete his QFD with ease. I was happy to try my skills in the new company………….. …. ….. ….. …. …. .. .. ., ………………………………….……………………………………………………
And my parents were really happy for finally I was at bay with the garage!
P.S. The words used colloquially, most of the time resemble the function of the part. eg shackles that resembles a swing are often called as jhoolas. The standard Whitworth threads that technically specified as ¼”, 1/2”, etc are compared to the then currency of anas, where 16 anas made up 1Ruppe hence ¼”, 1/2” is refered to 4 ana and 8 ana respectively.