The ministry of broken things

#31 Dec 31st, 2017, 20:03
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#31

Dying Trades of India: The Last Men Standing


Copper utensils at the Sheikh Qalai Gar shop. (Photo: Natisha Mallick/ The Quint)

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Do you know what Qalai Gar, Katib, Rafugar or even Bhishti mean?

Chances are, you don’t – these are some of the old-world trades that are now dying thanks to modernisation and technology. I went in search of the last few men left in these trades and unearthed their worlds of charm, nostalgia and loss.

Qalai Gar: The Tin and Copper Man

In a busy lane of Matia Mahal, Old Delhi, is this 150-year-old shop, “Sheikh Qalaigar”. Four generations of the Sheikh family have run their qalaigari or ‘tinning’ business. Tinning is the process of melting tin on copper or brass utensils to keep them from oxidising.

57-year-old Md Irfan supervises his sons, Md Faizan, 32, and Md Faisal, 30, who took over their father’s business five years ago.

Earlier, qalaigars would roam the galis and set up their makeshift bhatti (portable mini-furnaces) on the streets. Today, the Sheikhs are purani Dilli’s only qalaigars – they get 100-150 copper utensils each day and turn about Rs 2500-3000 profit.

About three decades back, it would cost Rs 12 for the qalai of 20 utensils (1 Kodi). Now the minimum charge per utensil is Rs 50, but can go up to as much as Rs 2000 for really large deghchis.
Quint
#32 Dec 31st, 2017, 20:48
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#32
The problem with journals and journos of the quint / scroll disposition is they think whatever they learnt on a given day is worth a full article. Clearly there are too many journalists unwilling to go out, do real research or even read readily available material - they don't have to look far, just the NBT in Delhi should do....I cannot imagine someone who's a native Hindustani speaker, not knowing the meaning of rafu....
#33 Dec 31st, 2017, 20:58
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#33
Not sure
Quote "Earlier, qalaigars would roam the galis and set up their makeshift bhatti (portable mini-furnaces) on the streets."
The man in my photos is/was a roaming "tinning buisness". In the middle photo you can see him turning a blower for air to get the charcol red which is heating up the upside down pot so that it will be hot enough for him to coat a layer of tin/solder. People in the area were bringing him items to be plated.
#34 Jan 1st, 2018, 16:23
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#34
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Originally Posted by RahulDeva View Post Aren't pots tinned from the inside only?
Yes, that is what I have always seen. Maybe because the only reason for tin plating is to make brass cookware safe.

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Originally Posted by dcamrass1 View Post I have copper pots and jugs from our area that are tinned inside and out,I presume if tinned both sides wil not tarnish from water and so on.
Cooking pots?

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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post I like those articles / contents so thought of sharing them.
Ok, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post I cannot imagine someone who's a native Hindustani speaker, not knowing the meaning of rafu....
I think that the new generation has no idea of many such aspects as these are obsolete art, so maybe a 20 something person reading these articles really does not know what rafu is.

I remember telling a young kid how I got my woolen trouser 'rafu' when I was in school, the kid was blank, he had no idea what 'rafu' meant, and when I explained, he understood it as stitching, so I left it there.
If you find my posts confrontationist, please bear, I am an old frustrated guy who has nothing better to do than sit on rocking chair and curse the world whole day
#35 Jan 1st, 2018, 16:31
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#35
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Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post ... I got my woolen trouser 'rafu' when I was in school....
Had to look it up - but it illustrates one way that modern stuff is a vast improvement on the old - my grandmother, also my mother for many years, spent most of their 'spare' time darning - mostly socks, which only lasted a few wearings before the heel went into a hole. Modern socks could last decades!


AndyD 8-)
There is no such thing as art, the best is high craft - the rest is just flim-flam ©
#36 Jan 1st, 2018, 17:36
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#36
Andy, do you have antimacassars is your house? Oh dear, until you mentioned socks, I had forgotten what that mushroom-shaped thing was.

Tinning.... to prevent the acids in fruits, etc, reacting with the material of the pot such as, but probably not limited to, copper.
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#37 Jan 1st, 2018, 19:40
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#37
"Cooking pots?"
Yes. As A onament in the house took the tin off to bring up the copper. will try and upload a photo.
A few things my mother taught me before left home and went to the armt was how to darn socks and sow on buttons( and more), found out it did not bother me the holes in the socks and improved it by later on discarding them completley (not very hygenic) also found a way to "sow" a button with a piece of thread and a safety pin
#38 Jan 1st, 2018, 20:42
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#38
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Originally Posted by a_f_d View Post Modern socks could last decades!
Which socks are these, the one worn once in ten years

Old socks used to be of cotton or wool, modern ones are nylon or blend of nylon/synthetic fiber with cotton/wool. Give me natural fiber socks any day, even if they do not last long.
#39 Jan 2nd, 2018, 00:34
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#39
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Andy, do you have antimacassars is your house? Oh dear, until you mentioned socks, I had forgotten what that mushroom-shaped thing was.

Tinning.... to prevent the acids in fruits, etc, reacting with the material of the pot such as, but probably not limited to, copper.
We did 'when I were a lad' - although my father used brilliantine or Brylcreme rather than macassar oil (what goes around comes around - macassar oil contained ylang-ylang which is apparently very 'in' at the moment).
In earlier times copper (untinned) pots were used to 'green' stewed apple, this apparently was much worse for you than the small amounts of lead that dissolve from (new) tin solder. If you 'greened' rhubarb you presumably got some copper oxalate, which sounds very nasty.
Tinning the bottom of cooking pots would be counter-productive as copper is a much better conductor of heat than tin (as my old physics master used to say 'copper is the best conductor there is - except silver').

AndyD 8-)
#40 Jan 2nd, 2018, 00:36
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#40
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Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post Which socks are these, the one worn once in ten years

Old socks used to be of cotton or wool, modern ones are nylon or blend of nylon/synthetic fiber with cotton/wool. Give me natural fiber socks any day, even if they do not last long.
... I take it you don't do the darning in your house?

AndyD 8-)
#41 Jan 2nd, 2018, 05:12
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#41

The ministry of broken things

There's a whole market but waiting for anti- ylang-ylang. I'm thinking macrame...
#42 Jan 2nd, 2018, 07:11
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#42
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modern stuff is a vast improvement on the old
My grandmother finally received a washing machine to replace her corrugated aluminum wash boards. She quietly picked up the boards and threw them out the window. It wasn't open at the time. My grandfather not normally at a loss for words, showed good judgement and ignored it..
#43 Jan 2nd, 2018, 09:38
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#43
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Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post so maybe a 20 something person reading these articles really does not know what rafu is
Indeed possible. However I suspect it's a 20 something writing these. A quick Google confirms that. So it is 20 somethings writing for their fraternity - best steer clear of this journal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post Old socks used to be of cotton or wool, modern ones are nylon or blend of nylon/synthetic fiber with cotton/wool. Give me natural fiber socks any day, even if they do not last long.
Well, not ten years but certainly the ones I've bought post 2004-5 have lasted me several years, compared to the ones I used to wear while in school. They are cotton, and expensive.

However I feel that my willingness to clip toenails regularly may be a bigger contributor to the longevity of the socks.
#44 Jan 2nd, 2018, 14:39
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#44

The ministry of broken things

I had better keep quiet about socks as I only wear them when in cold places. Once, though, I had a fine collection in various bright colours and wondrous patterns. I was well known for my socks.

My vague memories of socks from the fifties is that it was the heel that wore through. My mother was not into stitching. Well, not that kind: later on life the family income came from her design and making of fur-fabric animals. Not socks.

My socks were cotton. Sometimes the elastic failed.

If I had a brazing torch...
#45 Jan 2nd, 2018, 21:50
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#45
Yep, all for keeping things going and repair wherever possible, plus as you've said, it is pleasurable.

Here in the mountains, repair is the de fault scenario. You can't really get in any specialist easily, plumbing is about the only trade to call in for those bigger jobs where you cant be... Otherwise, household wiring we do ourselves but there are always those things to be done which keeps you on your toes.

Electonics and just about anything with a printed circuit board falls into that category for me. Enter stepson. Who designs PCB's and has always been a dismantled, re-assemble type. This 15yr old GPS, was scratched up by a monkey and the display was also mostly gone. He fixed it up and now it is still usable, not that I do use it much because I haven't had one for a dozen years. Clearly knew where i was heading... 😜
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