If nostalgia has a sound it could be that of Yamaha RX100. If sound has to become music, it needs the touch of a magician. Patrick Aashan, who lives behind the Kaloor stadium in Kochi, is one such magician. He has been repairing Yamaha bikes for the last 40 years and can understand even a minute difference in the sound of the vehicle. And that is the precise reason why Yamaha lovers take the pain of queueing up at the garage in front of his house. If you are surprised by the fanfare, you should listen to what the owners of bikes repaired by Aashan have to say.
“I have two Yamaha RX135 bikes. Both are in great condition. The servicing is done by Aashan," says Shivakumar who directed the Kerala Blasters anthem 'Kalippadakkanam, cupadikkanam'.
"He takes his own time to check the bike; the thumb rule is one bike at a time. So, he doesn't take up any other major work during that time. That is why those who take back the bike from his garage feels so proud and assured, as if they have won a trophy." And, that’s Shivakumar’s endorsement of Aashan.
Beginning with RD
Patrick was with Yamaha ever since it was launched in Kerala. It was in the eighties. Geo Motors was the only service and sales centre in Kerala then. Its service station was next to the Ambassador showroom. The legendary RD350 was the first launch. Three years later, RX100 was introduced. When Kerala Police bought 17 RD 350 bikes, it was Joseph Patrick who went for the test drive.
While speaking about RD, Patrick Aashan is on a 100 kmph high. "There was an instance when the fork broke but nothing happened to the rider. The RD is that stable. Another RD that went under a bus didn't suffer any damage to its chassis. New generation vehicles have a life of around five years only. But old RDs would be as good as new if they are worked on.”
During those days, the roads were fewer compared to now. Aashan recollected that quarter mile races were held for RDs at Island Airport road. When the heydays ended in 2002, he started a workshop along with a partner. Later, he started a garage at his house. Without a single advertisement, Yamahas continue to rumble outside his house incessantly. There is always a queue and there are people who pay in advance for the work. Because they know Aashan's hands can work wonders on their vehicle.
Hear to believe
During one of the first service camps, Dr Benny's RD 350 had something amiss. Yamaha engineer from north India tried his best but could not solve it. Then Patrick was called and asked to take a ride. "No need to take a ride. Change that part," Patrick told them. The part was changed and the bike was back to its roaring best. After that incident, even company engineers started coming to Patrick to consult him.
The next service camp led by Yamaha engineers from Japan was held in Bengaluru. During the camp, Patrick could find a solution to an important problem that others could not. There was a whistling sound - the sound was coming from the seven-port system's inlet port. A pinhole was the culprit. Detecting such a subtle issue made him an instant star, and even today he looks after every Yamaha with such attention and care. If experts from Japan had gathered around to applaud him then, today it is youngsters who are surrounding him.
The silent presence
When four members of the Team 135 left for a tour of India on their Yamaha RX 135s, Aashan was their strength. First, the vehicles were readied by Aashan; second, they could contact Aashan if there is even a small issue and can be sure that they will get an instant diagnosis and solution.
“We got more phone calls from uncle (Aashan) than from our families. That is the precise reason why uncle is different from other mechanics who think that once the vehicle is out of the workshop their headache is over. Uncle was virtually present with us as the fifth member - that was our strength," the team members Jibin Antony, Renish K, K Vimal Raphel and Kannan C S were unanimous in their praise.
At the garage, painting work is regularly done by Ashokan and team. Only genuine parts are used. Even washer is not changed. These are the reasons why Patrick Aashan's courtyard has become meeting place for Yamahas. Bikes come even from Kasaragod for servicing. Aashan will be present on the porch to bid adieu to each bike after service as if he is bidding farewell to a family member.
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