Footwear escapades! – The Hindu


There are situations where there is no choice but to leave your footwear outside. It could be a religious event or a group gathering. You come back and cannot spot your slippers. The mind is in a haze as you try to recall your footwear and where you left them. In a frenzy, you shuffle all the footwear in the pile. Some look similar, but they are not yours. Anger fumes from within: who could be so unscrupulous as to steal your footwear of all things? Or perhaps, so careless not to recognize his own slippers!

The next course of action is unclear. Should you file an FIR? Or should you make a dash with a different pair? What if the rightful owner comes running and holds you by the scruff of the neck? As you ruminate over the possibilities, all the people leave the premises. It is now totally empty, but one forlorn pair of slippers is still standing! The feet have an uneasy feeling as you trudge away with that pair! At times, the shock is worse. The two pieces are of different slippers and sometimes, both are of the same foot! The mind goes blank trying to piece together this puzzle.

Slippers are slippery, with a mischievous soul pervading the sole! They wait for the opportune moment. You are pleased with life and walk with a larger-than-life swagger. Suddenly, the foot is arrested. The buckle has slipped off from the base! Hobbling on one foot, you manage to set it right by threading the buckle back into the hole. From now on, you are on the back foot. Every 100 steps, the problem resurfaces. It is like a tooth that has developed a cavity. The shooting pain is just around the corner!

Shoes are funny fellows. They are pebble collectors! The collection stays unnoticed on the sides and heel, until it swells, and you start feeling them! Upturn the shoe, and an entire family spills out. It rains shells and stones, nails and coins, an entire treasure!

Formal shoes play a particular prank. The sole gets partially detached at the tip. As the foot is raised, it opens its mouth, and when you place the foot on the ground, it snaps shut. Call it Murphy’s Law, but when faced with this predicament, not one cobbler or shoe-shop is in sight. How far can you walk thus, scraping and flapping your way?

Just when you lose all hope, something snaps from within. In a moment of brazen recklessness, you abandon both the footwear. The crutches are thrown away. You step out and hit the turf with bare feet. Total freedom!

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