Actually, HMT and I go back a long way. I remember when as a child I often used to put my dad's HMT Sona close to my ears and felt elated listening the the constant and rythmatic tic-tic-tic of the watch. It was probably my the closest encounter I could get with a machine as a child, I suppose, and perhaps that is why I enjoyed it so much. Very aptly had HMT put a tagline to its watches - "desh ki dhadkkan"!There also is a history to this watch. It was gifted to my dad by my late grandfather when my dad completed his matriculation. My mom allowed me to use the watch for some time when I also got its worn down leather strap replaced with a more trendy but cheap plastic strap. I suppose, my mother soon realised the value of the watch and quietly got the watch 'underground' much beyond my reach. The watch continues to be in service with its original gold polish quite intact.
Now, coming back to my conversation with the watch dealer in my town, I did the customary googling to figure out a HMT showroom in NCR. To my surprise there was one in CP and one in Jhandewalan. I tried reaching the showroom on the numbers given on the HMT watch division website but couldn't get through. And then, Ebay came to my rescue. A quick search on Ebay threw up dozens of links where used and new HMT watches were being sold. There was the HMT Pilot with the bold black dial and an HMT Janta with Hindi numerals. There were trendier watches with coloured dials too! While I was mulling on which watch to buy, my eyes caught fancy of a rather simple watch. It was the most ordinary watch you could ever own. Off-white dial se in a gold plated round body with brown leather strap. No date, no chrono, nothing! So what was it that got me hooked? Well, it was the name. Quite surprisingly, this model of HMT was called HMT Sudeep! Man! I had to have this watch, at any price! I know I paid higher than the marked price of the watch to source it, but then how often is it that your watch is your namesake? And this is how I got the desh ki dhadkan on my wrist bearing my name in golden letters on its simple round dial!
Quite sadly there are no takers of HMT watches anymore in India. India's desi watch company is dying. While there are a gazillion forums where foreign collectors are discussing HMT watches and sourcing them from whatever channels are available, Indians have turned a deaf ear to the desh ki dhadkan.
Is this a pun on the current plight of this nation, I wonder. Whatever it is I hope the dhadkan of HMT and of this nation goes on for a zillion years... or at least till the time the warranty on my watch is valid!!