If you have ever been to India, the many repair shops and heaps of litter must have caught your attention. The mounds of waste keep growing but the repairmen’s work is steadily decreasing: time for the Repair Café to open its doors in India as well.
On 28 November 2015, ten experienced repairers got together to start the first Repair Café in Bangalore, the third largest city of India. Curious visitors cautiously stepped inside with broken appliances, clothing, jewellery, garden equipment and a few pieces of furniture.
After the first Indian meeting, Repair Café International spoke to the Indian organisers, Purna Sarkar Das and Antara Mukherji, via Skype.
The lost toolbox
Twenty to thirty years ago, every Indian had a toolbox in the house, explain Purna and Antara. With the Repair Café they want to restore the lost repair knowledge to Indian homes.
The curious visitors of the Repair Café in Bangalore paid 50 Rupees entrance fee, had cakes and drank tea and coffee. They were pleasantly surprised that the appliances gathering dust at home were still in good working order after a thorough clean or small repair. The repairers repaired 33 of the 43 items that were brought in. Antara repaired a piece of jewellery. And Purna listened to conversations about durable lifestyles and about the waste crisis in Bangalore.
Recognition for repairers
“India has always been a country of repairing and reusing”, says Antara. “But people throw away stuff much more easily nowadays. The repair shops still exist, but the repairmen are having an increasingly hard time.”
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t very difficult to find enthusiastic repairers for the Repair Café according to Purna. “Many of our specialists are freelancers without a fixed place of work. With the Repair Café, we want to give competent repairers the recognition they deserve.”
National Science Day
The next Repair Café is scheduled to take place on 28 February, India’s National Science Day. If you want to know more about the Indian Repair Café, please contact Purna and Antara.