Friday, October 13, 2017

The Tap Repairer

Photo taken from under CC0 licence

Why did that damned water tap leak annoy me so much? It was just a leak and it had been there forever.... But right now....
I snarled angrily at it – as if that was going to help with the leaking tap. Realizing that it was not, I stared at it for the whole of five minutes and then angrily pulled out the wrench from the drawer. Today it was either going to me me or the tap leak....I promised myself.
It was when I opened the drawer I realized what I was seeing.
My tools – there was a time when I had been the ‘repairer’ of the home. I am an engineer so it is natural and because I was good at it, I always fixed everything at my home. Right from broken sockets to fuses – I was good and my dad and me used to repair it all. My dad taught me everything.
I removed my bangle as I pulled out the wrench and looked at the tap again. The spindle inside was probably caught in the wrong circle or probably the washer had broken – it had after all been a few years since I had changed the washer of the tap.
Not that it stopped me right now. I was industrially removing the cap of the tap which was when I heard sounds behind me.
My daughter came forward and after a long time she seemed almost surprised to see the wrench with me.
Mom, are you going to kill the tap?” There was real worry in her voice.
I said nothing because I was more or less used to my daughter’s cockiness. There were many people who always said that she got it from her mother – that is me…. But then who was paying attention to all that?
What is this called?” My daughter obviously never learnt how to not talk. Just because someone did not answer one question, it did not mean that the other questions could not be asked.
A wrench.” I said quietly as I screwed the tap open.
The tap is leaking.” My daughter said suddenly as if that was a fact she had just figured out. “And you are repairing it.”
That was when I saw genuine doubt in her face. “You can repair these things?”
I swear it was her question which caught me by surprise.
Of course, I can.” I said sounding a little peeved. But then I was thinking of far too many other things. Why the hell hadn’t I done any of this before? I have always had the wrench with me and I knew this tap was leaking...I just gave up because I could not get an answer to that one...No matter what.
I looked at the spindle of the tap and removed the washer. And that was when I saw that the washer had almost worn out. That was the reason, it was leaking.
Sighing, I walked towards my tools drawer again with my daughter following me and wondered whether I had this type of washer with me. There was a time when I used to buy these things and keep them in stock just for this very contingency.
After searching for some time and in between questions of my daughter as she picked up every single tool and asked me what it was and in between my answers and the fact that I hurriedly pulled away the forceps from my daughter’s hands as she was trying to pick that up, I found it.
The packet of washers were lying in my ‘magic drawer which had everything’ (my daughter’s description, in case you did not figure it out).
I was searching for it and that was when my daughter asked me another question which threw me in a loop.
Mom, why didn’t you tell me that you can repair stuff?” My daughter asked me.
I opened my mouth and words failed me. Because there was nothing I could say. I had never told my daughter about my ‘skills’ for the very simple reason that I had never repaired anything…. Not after her birth. No one told me, but over time I had just stopped doing these things – things that I was good at – just because I had some stupid assumption in my head that I was not supposed to do it…. Finally, my work just took over all the other things that I could do and I just never did these ‘simple’ things. It was weird. When I thought about it, it was really weird. But it was the truth.
But now after a really long time, the wrench felt like a familiar friend in my hands.
The shining eyes with which my daughter was looking at the wrench told me exactly what my daughter wanted now. And that made me grin.
You want to help me repair it?” I asked as I waved her over.
You will teach me?” She asked and her eyes were shining with excitement.
That was the first time I taught my daughter about how to hold a wrench… the right way – to give the correct grip. She was thrilled with the simple thing of just tightening the cover of the spindle and her nimble hands and her enthusiastic eyes, told me what I needed to know – she could really do this – she had a gift for it. Just like I did. Which was probably what my father saw in me and let me ‘help’ him around the house too.
After ten beautiful minutes I screwed the tap lid back up and looked at it. Both me and my daughter exchanged beautiful looks.
The tap was perfect.
Do you want to learn how to solder?” I asked my daughter excitedly as I still remembered the day my dad had taught me to solder. I remembered my excitement – pure joy. I felt it was time, I at least showed my daughter that.
Behind us, the door opened.
What are you doing here?” My husband just returned from office and the first thing he saw was his daughter with a wrench and his wife with very dirty hands, both of whom were staring happily at a tap… Yup, I could almost feel what he must have felt.

But it was my daughter’s reply which made me smile. “Me and mom are setting things right.” My daughter said loftily as she pulled the wrench proudly in her hands.

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