A Blackberry addict discovers grassroots enterprise in India – A lovely story of Core India

Editor’s Note: August 15 is India’s Independence Day. This is a day when Pseudo-European Indians love to talk down their country, its progress and its people. We are great fans of Core India and Indians who reflect the core.  When you visit Mumbai, you will be struck by the eternal optimism of core Indians. They may be poor, they may live in huts and they may struggle to improve their lifestyle but they never lose their optimism and enterprise. We were looking for a positive, uplifting story about this core India to celebrate India’s Independence day. A reader from Mumbai responded to our request and brought this story to our attention. We thank him.

This is a story of a wealthy, successful global Indian and his chance encounter with two young men from core India. It is a story of human spirit and of ingenuity. This is why we begin at the end of the story.  

The global Indian writes of his encounter:

  • I went home having discovered the true entreprenuership that lies at what we call the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Some may call it piracy, which of course it is, but what can you say about a two uneducated and untrained brothers aged 10 and 19 that set up a ‘hole in the wall’ shop and can fix any technology that the greatest technologists in the world can throw at them. I smiled at the future of our country. If only we could learn to harness this potential.

The global Indian in this story is Shekhar Kapur, a film director and producer. In 1998, he got international recognition for directing the Academy Award-winning film Elizabeth. We will always know him as the director of the exquisite film Masoom.

The story begins with Mr. Kapur driving to buy a new Blackberry because the roller track ball of his old blackberry was stuck and did not work. As he drove past a crowded market, he saw a “small fading sign” which read “Cellphoon reapars”. Kapur’s “innate sense of adventure” made him stop his car and investigate the shop “not more than 6 feet by 6 feet, grimy and uncleaned.”

A kid barely 10 years old confidently assures the global Indian that his big brother can fix the Blackberry. Then the big brother walks in. Kapur judges him to be about 19 years old. This big brother tells Kapur “Normal blackberry problem. I replace with original part now. You must wash your hand before you use this”. The big brother then “rummages through a dubious drawer full of junk and fishes out a spare roller ball packed in cheap cellophane wrapper.” He tells Mr. Kapur he can fix it in 6 minutes.

Read Mr. Kapur’s reaction in his own words:

  • This I have to see. After spending the whole morning trying to find a Blackberry service centre and getting vague answers about sending the phone in for an assessment that might take a week, I settle down next to his grubby cramped work space. At least I am going to be able to watch all my stored data vanish into virtual space. People crowd around to see what’s happening. I am not breathing easy anyway. I tell myself this is an adventure and literally have to stop myself grabbing my precious blackberry back and making a quick escape. But in exactly six minutes this kid handed my blackberry back. He had changed the part and cleaned and serviced the the whole phone.  Taken it apart, and put it together.

The kid told Kapur that his fee was Rs. 500.  As Mr. Kapur thought “Thats $ 10 dollars as against the Rs 30,000 ($ 600)  I was about to spend on a new blackberry or a couple of weeks without my phone. I looked suitably shocked at his ‘high price ‘ but calmly paid him. Much to the disappointment of the expectant crowd.”

Mr. Kapur ended his story with the lines we quoted at the beginning of this article. This is a great story. We thank Shekhar Kapur for writing it on his Blog  and we thank our Mumbai-based reader, himself a global Indian, for bringing it to our attention.

This to us is the story of Core India and Core Indians – a place where optimism reigns supreme and where creativity beats most obstacles. This is why India’s growth exploded when modern credit creation joined core Indian talent, drive and entrepreneurship.

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