When jugaad saved the day : The Tribune India

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When jugaad saved the day

When jugaad  saved the day


Col DS Cheema (retd)

JUGAAD, an innovative way of finding simple solutions to seemingly difficult problems, has been an essential part of our lives. I recall that many people in villages and small towns used bicycle wheel rims as antennas for viewing TV decades ago. Even uneducated villagers had the practical wisdom to innovate and improvise. JCOs and other ranks in the Army are adept at it; they find one way or the other to carry out the orders of their seniors, particularly during training exercises. During the 1960s, there were many occasions when the driver of our Mahindra jeep came up with an idea out of thin air and executed it with finesse, even though he had not studied beyond Class VIII.

Earlier this year, my doctor daughter and her younger son came from Jalandhar to meet us, while her elder son, an MBBS student, arrived from Dehradun. We had two fun-filled days of Holi celebrations. March 27 was the day for everyone to get back to their respective places. The doctor-in-the-making wanted to take an early-morning ride through the BlaBla carpool network to reach well in time for his 9 am class; my daughter had to go back to her hospital, so she decided to leave at 8 am; my son was to leave for work at 8:30 am as usual. Everything seemed to be going according to plan till the time we dropped the young man at the pick-up point for Dehradun and returned home.

My daughter told us that she could not find the keys of her car. A hectic search proved futile. Finally, it dawned on her that her son could have taken them by mistake in a pocket of his jeans. She called him up and it came to light that the boy indeed had the keys. We discussed various options: my daughter could go by bus and her son could send the keys by post or through some BlaBla car coming to Chandigarh from Dehradun. We wondered if the boy could miss a day of studies and come back to deliver the keys.

Exasperated, I approached a driver from a neighbouring house and sought his help. He asked me to go to a Panchkula key-maker who dealt with such cases. I reached there, only to find the shop closed. I called up the person whose contact number was displayed on the signboard. All he wanted were photos of both sides of the keys; this was arranged immediately. In 20 minutes, a boy turned up at our home on a motorbike. I was taken aback when he opened the car with a key he had brought with him. He explained to me that to turn the car on, he had to use a computer code. It took him precisely two minutes to do that, and lo and behold, the engine came to life. We heaved a sigh of relief and were overjoyed at his brilliant performance. I patted the boy on the back and jokingly told him that he could earn much more in the US or Canada. He happily accepted the compliment and touched my feet. His smart work strengthened my faith in the power of jugaad.


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