Ravi Meshiri: Doctor of old bikes

Clients vouch for 72-yr-old man to repair antique beauties

Thiruvananthapuram: Antique bike owners do not trust anyone, but Ravindran Sivaraman. The 72-year-old man has spent 60 years with two-wheelers. He has worked on Matchless, BSA, Norton, Ariel, DKW and several other bikes which have disappeared from Indian roads. He owns an Ideal Jawa 250 bought in 1973. It still looks as if it is in showroom condition.

However, one cannot pigeonhole him as a mechanic. According to his clients, he is a master turner who can reproduce spare parts at his lathe. They relate to a recent incident of a client who lost the key of an outmoded model of car. Ravi Meshiri could make a replica easily, they say.

He says, “I can make a whole bike, but I don’t have the rights to do that.” His client, footballer Karun Kumar, had once bought an engine, an Enfield which caught his fancy in Himachal Pradesh. “It was just an engine. Now it has been turned into a bike,” says Karun.

Another client Pramod P. Nair, who inherited the love for classic bikes from his father, approached Ravindran as he was one of the last in a line of old antique bike mechanics. He says, “Companies like Enfield provide mechanics expert training in the repair and maintenance of the bikes. But when Ravi Meshiri and other mechanics of his time started out, they had to learn it all by themselves. They would have to open the models, get acquainted with the parts and then attempt making it.

To temper the steel, this person relies on his experience, not high-end machines. “The old man had a 20-person-strong lathe, which was wound up after his wife passed away. He had almost hung up his boots. However, Raju G., his disciple, did not let him. Ravindran now works at the lathe at Raju’s workshop at Kesavadasapuram junction, and is in no mood for retirement. “I like working on something that looks difficult,” he says.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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