Each year during the monsoons I, and a bunch of other enthusiasts, trek to a place up in the Maharashtrian Sahyadri mountains. Residing amongst the clouds, this place is called ‘Rajmachi’ and has the remains of two small forts. It also has a small public school and this is where the story begins.
Alighting at the Pune railway station, it takes almost the entire day to reach the place. The trek is tough and very exhausting. With prior arrangement, we spend the night at the public school which was basically two small rooms with a tiled roof-top. The other alternative was a nearby post office which was basically a small hut.
Next morning, as the clouds float by, a small bunch of about 25 students arrive in ones and twos followed by the headmaster and one teacher. Headmaster and teacher teach the students all the subjects to all the students for all the classes. You have to be here to witness it – amazing how India is ploughing ahead with such meagre resources.
While there, I notice that the teacher was wearing an ancient looking watch while the headmaster did not even have a watch.
That evening, we said our goodbyes and trekked back to the Pune railway station. The next day morning, I opened my laptop and Googled to find a suitable men’s watch for the headmaster. Of the thousands of watches that Google displayed in its images tab, the one that caught my eye, was an all blue watch having the brand name “Nixon” and model was Time Teller P Corp A1248-3010-00. Retail price was Rs 4,000-odd but with a small discount, was being offered at Rs 3,900/-
I loved the watch because of its understated elegance. All blue with white large numbers made it easy to read the time. The watch was as simple as the folks living in the rugged mountains of Rajmachi.
The description indicated that the watch had a stainless-steel case connected to a polycarbonate strap. Internally it was powered by quartz movement, had a mineral crystal, analog display with pull/push crown, buckle clasp and 100M Water Resistant. The water-resistant part was important as Rajmachi being up in the clouds was almost always damp and received above average rainfall.
I bought the watch and it took a week to arrive at my Mumbai address. The box had the watch displaying the correct time and it also had an international warranty card. Hopefully, it might never be required.
I re-packed the box and added a small letter and included my return address. Then, I took the box to the nearest post office and parcelled it to ‘The Headmaster, govt. primary school, Rajmachi, Pune district, Maharashtra.’
I had every confidence the headmaster would receive it and it turns out; I was right. Indian postal service is another amazing service that functions so well. A month later, I receive a letter with the word “thank you” written at least 4 times. The headmaster mentioned that he liked the watch and that it kept good time. I truly hope the Nixon watch lasts the headmaster a long time.