Quint Impact: TN Cricket Team’s Cobbler Baskaran Gets a New Smile

Dr Jim Samson has fixed cobbler Baskaran’s broken-toothed smile, giving him a brand new smile.

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Meet the Indian cricket team's official cobbler in Chennai, Baskaran.
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A smile is the only crooked thing that can fix any situation. And Chennai’s Baskaran, recently got his smile fixed.

Baskaran sits on the pavement outside MA Chidambaram stadium, popularly called Chepauk stadium, a landmark in Chennai and a favourite adda for every cricket fan. With a broken-toothed smile, he would welcome you to his humble shop spread on a mat. He is the official cobbler of the Indian cricket team in Chennai.

On 19 March 2020, The Quint published an article on how the cobbler is struggling to make ends meet. We received a number of messages of support and offering financial aid. Among these was a call from Dr Jim Samson who promised to give him a new smile.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the visits to the dentist, but today, Bhaskaran has new teeth.

‘Hurts But I Am Happy’

Baskaran has received a new set of teeth.
Baskaran has received a new set of teeth.
(Photo: The Quint)

When I had visited Bhaskaran in March 2020, he was a humble man, sincere with his work, and willing to help. But he stopped himself from smiling. When asked he said, “My teeth are broken and my smile looks ugly. So I control myself.”

Reading a post on this, Chennai-based dentist Dr Jim Samson called me, asking for his details. When coronavirus struck, he along with his colleagues were stuck in Dubai, and only after several months could they return to India.

“He has lived without teeth for a very long time so there is no support for the dentures. Whatever work we do won’t stay in and will be loose. So we have placed two dental implants. Since we are doing this for free, we wanted to make sure we give the best of treatment. He should at no pint of time be reminded of that,” he told The Quint.

Baskaran showing off his new set of teeth.
Baskaran showing off his new set of teeth.
(Photo: The Quint)
I have received some financial aid from well-wishers but this has given me so much joy. I never imagined a life where I could smile and it will look beautiful. The dentures cause a lot of pain but it doesn’t hurt me much because I am very happy.
Baskaran, Cobbler

Since Bhaskaran was a diabetes patient, adequate tests were done to ensure the procedures don’t risk his health. The well-wisher also ensured to give him money for traveling from Chepauk to the hospital in Vandalur, which is in the outskirts of Chennai city.

“He is so so happy! And we are glad we had the opportunity to bring a smile on someone’s face.”
Dr Jim Samson

No Matches, No Money

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Baskaran’s family quite hard. From March, until November he couldn’t work and even later, he has hardly any customers.

“Now things seem normal and we are being allowed to run shop. But who will come? How many people will come to fix their bat, gloves, stumps? People are not even allowed to meet, so where will they play cricket,” he said.

The cobbler was earning Rs 500-Rs 1,000 daily, which has come down to Rs 200 since January.

Test cricket has returned to Chepauk stadium after four long years with the matches against England. However, unlike usual there are no long queues at the ticket counters, flags waving, roads buzzing with fans, due to the pandemic.

“Usually, I am called for every match and I sit in the dressing room with the players and watch the match. This year I was hoping my financial situation could get better if I get called for these matches, but they are still strict about letting people in,” he said.

“I have a new smile now and am very happy and grateful. But it is still difficult to manage everyday meals and household expenses.”
Baskaran, cobbler

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