It is known fact among my friends and family, that I love shoes. I have a big collection of them, though its a different story, I like to wear only a few of them on a daily basis. I am often asked, why do I own so many shoes? why do I love to buy shoes at the drop of a hat.
Now when I think about this love of my life, believe me it looks like that to some people, I go back to the days when we were growing up, we had two pairs for school, one BATA chappal and if “mahine ka akhir” (End of the month) allowed a fancy pair to go out. Only different thing we could do in high school with our shoes was to wear “GOLA” shoes instead of plain and simple “Mary Jane” kind or to find different way of tying shoelaces in PE ones. I know many would identify with me and don’t read “OLD”, I am still from the era of QSQT and Chandni (80’s Bollywood movies) (thinking more shoe…now with chandni look).
Two incidences that stand out in my memory. My mom had a “London returned” cousin, and she had these fancy leather boots all embroidered and “oh” so good looking. She promised to give me those once she outgrew them, only hindrance was she was quite a few years older then me. With time I resigned myself to the fate of not owning them, but they came in my dream so often.
And decade later, while raiding my granma’s house, I found these “Dream Shoes” in the attic. With much aplomb they were cleaned and were tried on, “hear drum roll in the background”, but to my dismay they had grown mold inside them and with broken heart were shown the garbage can. “OH” what a sad day, I can still feel the pain of loosing my dream shoes. I own a lot of boots now but nothing come close to owning the damaged, forbidden ones.
Now lets move on to the story of” The white belly shoes”. Belly shoes are very common in India, closed flats and very versatile. I had a white pair and I so wanted a black one to match my outfit. I was going with my friend and her brother to fill in college application forms and I decided to treat myself to new shoes. Yes!! long before term “DIY” got commonly used. I actually did Jugad, took some black polish and made by white shoe turn into “DIY” new black ones.
Proudly I stepped out, feeling so proud of my matching outfit and shoes. But the day didn’t last on the same note. By afternoon the white started peeping out, saying hello to the world. By the time I reached back home, it was out in the open, and like Cinderella, I had lost my glass slipper for then, till my handsome prince found me a new one (prince part to be true to the princess story 🙂 ).
The life moved on with ups and downs. My actual Prince Charming came, and my parents made sure to send me off with a nice collection of sarees, suits and of course shoes. And by the time my parents visited me in my new home abroad, my collection had grown substantially. One of the few things I did to prepare for their visit, was to put almost all in trash bags, and hide them in the closet. In case you are wondering why, I was embarrassed to own so many, as I had seen my parents working hard to provide us with necessities and luxuries.
Going back to the story, picture the moment my parents enter the home, and first thing my then five year old says, “Nani, dekho mama ne kya chuppaya” ( look grandma, what mamma hid), it actually felt like that ad, “jab main chota bacha tha” Unbelievable, but they say na “bache man ke sache”
Well, there are many more incidents, that I can share which mark my love of these glossy or matt, solid or rainbow colored piece of leather or canvas. And not to forget my closest friends have contributed to the varied variety.
The best thing about shoes is that my size has stayed the same over a long period of time. But just to make clear, my shoe size has remained the same. It’s as loyal to me as my love for them.