Honesty is the best policy, Is it?


If you own a motorbike or a scooter in Shimla, then you must read it as you would often require the services of a mechanic for regular maintenance or for fixing mechanical troubles a vehicle gives you.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a bike mechanic who owns a small workshop near powerhouse at ‘Tavi Chowk’ in Shimla. I was having troubles with self-ignition, which in turns was linked to battery. Somehow, I managed to start my bike in gear and approached the mechanic. After making me wait for an hour, one of the boys at workshop checked my bike and told me that the battery needs to be charged. When I asked him how long it will take, then he asked me to return in the evening. Regarding cost, he told me that it’ll be between Rs. 70 -80.

When I returned in the evening, my bike was fit and fine like before and I was happy about it. He asked me to pay Rs. 200 to the owner for charging the battery. Then he pointed to an electrical part and whispered in my ear, “Your bike had more trouble than it appeared initially. This part was also damaged as you had ignited the fuel chamber in a heavy gear. Original and new part is very expensive, but I managed to replace it with a spare one without telling the owner.” Then he asked me to hand him Rs. 100 as a payment for his additional favor. He told me not to mention it to the owner of the workshop as he would find it annoying to have helped me and not selling a new piece. Now, I had to pay Rs.300 for the total service. I was a bit disappointed at the additional expenses, but was still happy for the personal help I received from that benevolent boy. At least, my bike was working fine then.

It didn’t give me the same problem until a couple of days ago when it again behaved in the same manner. Again, I managed to approach the mechanic, but not the previous one. This time I parked my bike in front of workshop situated on Power House to Totu shortcut. I was certain that the battery needed to be charged again. I told the mechanic to check it. He just opened the chamber where battery is located and inspected it. He grabbed a screwdriver and tightened the wires at positive and negative terminals. It hardly took more than two minutes for him to do that. He pressed the self-ignition switch and voila! It was fine. He said, “It’s done.” I surprisingly stared at him and again confirmed whether it was done or not. He confirmed it again without a second thought. I told the mechanic about the previous incident, which made him laugh while he sarcastically said, “It just takes Rs.30 to charge a two wheeler’s battery.”


Damn it. The other mechanic, he wasted my whole day and charged me Rs.300 for screwing two nuts. All he exploited was my trust in humanity and lack of knowledge regarding the basics of my bike. I asked him to check a few more things about my bike, which he immediately did. In return, when I asked him how much should I pay for his service, he reluctantly asked for Rs.10. I gave him 30. I was thankful to him for being honest and not taking advantage of the situation like the other one did.

Now, when I observed these two incidents objectively without being personally biased, it revealed that actually I was entirely dependent on what the mechanic told me, because, I don’t claim much technical knowledge about the mechanism or parts of my bike like most of other people with vehicles. Mechanics will take advantage of it and use it to loot you when you approach them with a face like an innocent, ignorant banana and cry your worries about your bike/vehicle. To convince you that your vehicle is in some expensive trouble, the mechanic could give you thousands of mechanical reason, which sounds like alien linguistics to you.

Our society is full of such people. These people don’t have any faith in honesty or any interest in preserving moral values. Perhaps, their struggle for survival has corrupted them. When I visualized the whole incident from their perspective, I almost found it justified to be cunning and keep up with Darwin’s evolution theory, which claims the fittest creature survive best on in our ecosystem. When the political leaders and wealthy miscreants can loot the country and its entire population, then why can’t they loot a few customers using the only power they have; mechanical knowledge. Greed is the conviction of our country’s corrupted political history and present phase of poverty is strengthening it. Corruption has degraded the human element in most of us. It makes me feel sorry about people who have accepted the reality, but instead of correcting it, they have become a part of it. Still, the evil must be exposed.

Obviously, I’ll never visit this guy again and I’ll find pleasure in spreading the word among my friends and anyone who could read this. Beware of such guys whenever you face some mechanical problem with your vehicle, a problem which is beyond your knowledge to diagnose it or fix it. My basics about the simple instruction regarding the maintenance of battery would have been comprehensible for me if I would have read the manual that came with the bike. Same applies with electronic devices such as computers and mobiles.

However, staunch criticism isn’t the conclusion for me. In the same society, we have honest souls as well. The other mechanic is apt evidence that trust and honesty do exist amidst the rubble of corrupted morals. I would prefer to forget about the cheater and be glad that now I have a better mechanic to consult. As a little promotion and encouragement to the good guy and as a little lesson for the bad one, I request HW to publish the images of two mechanic workshops. I am certain that they don’t have access to internet, but I hope, may be, someone would tell them about this story. If you ever visit any of them, do tell them what you read.

Credits/Source: Ankur Vaid, Shimla

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