Sunday, November 1, 2015

The 'Black Scissors'

Till the 1980s, my main mode of transportation was my Robin Hood, my late uncle's, an English bicycle which he had bought second hand in 1958.  Even now I use it occasionally.  It has a Lucifer headlamp [Swiss] and a Miller dynamo.

One evening in the mid 1980s I was to watch some cultural programme in the workplace auditorium.  Before leaving, there was a loose connection at the dynamo terminal to be rectified.  I had stripped the wire, rectified the connection and  pedaled off happily whistling a song, unmindful of what I had done before leaving home in a hurry.

The dynamo ['bottle generator'!], lamp at work and my Robin Hood. 

I was about to enter the campus gate when I heard a very familiar metallic sound behind me as the bicycle wheel passed over a small dent.  Familiar, because it makes a noise when it is handled or dropped esp. on hard surfaces.  Sound of my favourite 'black scissors' on the road, there? Certainly baffled, I stopped immediately.  The thing had fallen to the ground from the 'carrier' behind the saddle.  Very miraculously, it had stayed put all the way up to this point, two kilometres, despite the several vibrations our roads offer cyclists!  To my great luck, it had got itself tangled firmly on the 'carrier' behind the saddle.  That was where I remember to have kept it after stripping the wire sitting near the hind wheel. The little thing 'knew' how much I loved it and never wanted to leave me, so it seemed to call my attention by falling with a tinkle!  It was quite unusual of me to have not kept it back its place on my desk after finishing the job.  

The overwhelming relief I got on finding it and that too in such a manner defies description.  But I must admit making some funny actions [no one was watching] before keeping it safe in my shirt pocket, in front of my heart, which I kept touching every now and then to reaffirm its presence while watching the cultural programme that ended at 9 pm.  I returned home and heaved a sigh of big relief!  And a lesson reminded!

It has always been identified as 'Black Scissors"  [ಕರಿ ಕತ್ರಿ].  Its colour, size and unappealing appearance is contrary to its performance and utility.  Earlier my father used to keep it safe in his drawer.  I have seen it all my life and been using for most part of it.  Since about 40 years it has been an invaluable tool on my desk and in my rough guesstimate it is with us for another 40, previously!   That is how old this heirloom must be!  It must always be handy near my desk. Always.  My furious side surfaces when I do not find it in its place when I require.  It HAS to return to its allotted spot.  Others at home know my furious side if they were careless, misplacing, searching and finding it back. The last thing they want to hear from me is "Who has taken my ಕರಿ ಕತ್ರಿ?

My ಕರಿ ಕತ್ರಿ can cut a thread, cloth, paper, cardboard, plastic and whatnot.  All my hundreds of paper clippings of photos of cricketers to make albums were done with it decades ago.  Only I can use this to strip electric wires.  I have even used it to cut thin metal sheets for various home projects, before a proper cutter came to me.

Only twice, in half a century, I have seen it being sharpened, by knife-smiths that came by the street. It seems to retain its sharpness for ever. Such is the quality of steel.  I could verify this from the little sparks that flew and the sound it made when the smith held the cutting edges against the grinding wheel.

It is manufactured by the "Diamond Scissors Co", imprinted on one side.....

......Meerut City on the other.

Meerut, I understand is a renown place for making knives and scissors, highly durable, with a 360-year old history! I also learn now that Meerut Scissors have recently earned a GI mark!  Geographical Indication.

This marvel scissors is a cut above the rest.
It will and shall never leave me!


Having just learnt about Meerut's fame, I now gather a few tailoring scissors at home to check. Indeed, they have the Meerut imprint!  Three of them, clearly.