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An interview with a Greenwich Village locksmith: Saeed Akhtar Mirza

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What happens when Indian film-maker, writer and traveller Saeed Mirza is sucked into a tiny shop in Greenwich Village, New York: Outlook

saeed_mirzaNew York
May 22, 2014

I pass a tiny shop in Greenwich Village with a no-nonsense signboard above that says ‘Greenwich Locksmiths’. Just below this, an additional tag-line reveals ‘Master Licensed Locksmith Since 1968’.

I glance through the small entrance door to see in the dark interior a sixtyish, hawk-faced man bent over a work-table, deeply engrossed in filing away at some small piece of metal. He doesn’t notice my presence. I don’t know why I stop to watch him, but having done so I am transfixed. I look at his face as he works away and am amazed at his level of concentration and the intensity of his gaze as he keeps checking the metal object in his hand from time to time. I must have been watching him for a while when suddenly he turns his head towards the door and looks out. I feel incredibly stupid standing there on the sidewalk looking in. So, I smile at him and then realize that he hasn’t noticed me because he rubs his eyes for a moment and goes back to work: he was giving his eyes a much-needed break.

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