A lost art
Even thirty years ago, we had many of them. We have a few even now but their numbers are dwindling and I am sure they will be extinct in another decade or so. Three decades ago, when we were students, they were in considerable demand. Theirs were honest occupations that required time and skills. You had to linger as an apprentice for quite some time before you could be on your own. Although they were never prosperous, it was not so difficult to earn a livelihood for those who were diligent.
Then appeared the age of consumerism. Items of everyday use became cheaper and easier to replace. Rather than trying to get something repaired, we became used to throw it away. Some items like wristwatches no longer remained an essential accessory when people began to carry mobile phones in their pockets. That is when I felt that these mechanics and skilled workmen are gradually disappearing from our view. I would see a watch mechanic sitting by the roadside — under the open sky or in his cramped cubicle — awaiting that rare customer with a forlorn look or trying to hold off drowsiness. The writing on the wall was clear. His profession no longer remained relevant to the needs of a modern world.
I try to catch some of them in my illustrations dreading that a time may soon come when I won’t have the luxury of observing them on their jobs and sketching them.