Selim Parvez was sitting across the table to the owner of the shop although it could barely be called a table as it was less than two feet wide.
The shop? Well, it is a 144 square-foot of space stuffed with three lathe machines making auxiliary parts for sophisticated machinery.
Optimistically named Rafi Engineering, the shop is in Dholai Khal, deep inside a market tucked away within a cobweb of alleys.
To get to the tiny shop, one has to carefully negotiate and tread over heavy machinery, electric motors, cogs and gears, and welders working with firework in blinding darkness.
Selim, the entrepreneur who makes electric security gates, was in a pickle. The rise in violence in the garment sector and across the country over the last one year or so has increased the demand for electric security gates. Owners of garment and other factories now want those installed so that in the event of an attack they could just close the gates to their factories by remote switching, keeping the workers and the equipment safe. And in the event of a fire, the gates would open automatically to help the workers escape the flames.
Selim is the go-to guy for the gates. He imports all the electronics from Europe but he needs to build the gates here in Bangladesh. Any shop could make a gate for him but he needs precise engineering for the cogs and wheels.
Armed with just slide callipers and screw gauges, the skilled workers of the shop went about making the parts for Selim. Within a short time the cogs, gears and wheels of the gate were placed on the small table. The job was taken care of well.
Bulbul Ahmad, who runs the shop, talked about his business for a while. He said much of his business comes from large heavy industries.
He said without them making parts in their small shops many industries would grind to halt since importing spares takes time and costs a lot of money and in business, time is money.
An industrialist cannot afford to keep his or her factory closed even for a day in this age of competition just because a cog has worn out or a gear broke a pinion.
He said all that his and a few thousand other shops do is get a lump of metal and make an exact copy of the sample provided to them. And, these tiny little bits keep our factories running.