Mirrors are essential, in life or otherwise. How else would we look at things in retrospect? More often than not people dislike looking back. And, rightly so.
The only reason to ever look back is to see how far you’ve come and to give yourself a pat on the back. As for everything else, it is probably at the back because it lives in the past for a reason, because it belongs there.
Metaphors aside, there is a small shop next to the famous Geeta Bakery in Panjim. This shop is hidden in plain sight, where the sound of glass being cut is drowned out by the hustle and bustle of the noise in Panjim city.
The old-world charm of Santosh Amonkar and his tiny shop whose signboard today reads, ‘Mahalaxmi Glass’, have stood still, even though time hasn’t.
“This wasn’t always a glass shop,” says Santosh, as he humbly apologizes for his worn-out attire. But, what else should one wear whilst working? His demeanour shows off all the signs of a simple, self-made and hardworking man.
“The shop is 60 years old, and I have spent 19 years working here,” he begins. “Before opening a glass shop, I used to deal with fixing motorcycles but over time, business was not great so I shifted to the glass business,” he adds.
Right from mirrors to table and window glasses and other jobs like bottle cutting, Santosh does it all single handedly.
“I used to accept orders to go fit the glass personally in the past but I cannot do it anymore. There’s no one to help me either; there were a few boys who used to help me out, but eventually, everybody left, I’m not complaining though,” he smiles.
Practice makes perfect, and as for Santosh, he says that he takes barely ten minutes to cut and polish glass. He has the ability to make every girl's ‘mirror-selfie’ dreams come true.
Taking a mental stroll down memory lane, he reminisces how his early life started as a newspaper distributor.
“I used to work for the Gomantak newspaper and for nearly 18 years supplied the newspaper in Siolim, Mandrem and Sawantwadi travelling on my motorcycle,” he recalls.
Once that job came to a halt, he became a motorcycle pilot before starting his business of selling bike spare parts. After which, he found himself involved in the glass business and keeps at it till this day.
“Apasara Glass, a glass shop in Margao, lent me stock of glass, free of cost,” he explained. That was the beginning of Mahalaxmi Glass with the only down payment being trust and faith that the honest man would repay his due. And rightly enough, he did.
“Even Rs 50,000 was a lot in those days,” he acknowledges. “I used to sell glass and make a little money and repay them,” he assures.
In a world where change is the only constant, hard work and dedication is the only solace. It is knowing that you tried your best, despite all odds.
And people like Santosh are living examples of the fact that sometimes, it is essential to look back at how far you've come. No matter the ways, no matter the pace.