Mission Delhi – Bijendra Data, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
He is the memento of an earlier age. Bijendra Data’s family legacy consists of the typewriter. “My father had a typewriting training institute in our home town in Rewari,” he says, referring to a nearby city.
Sitting alone at his printing establishment in Gurgaon’s Mahindra Market on New Railway Road, Mr Data, 55, recalls that he learned the mechanics of typewriter repairing in a workshop in Bhatinda, Punjab, back in 1976 “when I was just a teenager”. He finished his “training” in six months and immediately afterwards started to work in his father’s establishment. “At that time offices depended on typewriters and we would always have young people coming to us to learn typewriting,” he said.
The gentleman fondly talks of the various sorts of typewriters — manual, electric and electronic — and modestly informs that he could repair “any kind of typewriter manufactured in any part of the world.” He points to a framed certificate on his shop’s wall “awarded to me by the Godrej company for being a wholesale distributor to sell and service their typewriters.”
And then the world changed.
The computer arrived.
“There were days when I would be idle for hours.”
The old dependable business finally folded in 2005. Mr Data launched another enterprise. Today he prints textbooks, visiting cards, letterheads and stuff like that.
But the ghosts of typewriters still haunt his life. “Sometimes, I get requests to repair faulty typewriters.”
You ought to meet this man—if you have a worn-out typewriter—or just to hear him share stories of the good old typewriter times. Mr Data lives in Rewari and shuttles daily between the two towns. He sits daily in his shop from 10 am to 6pm, Sunday is off.
[This is the 205th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The typewriter man