Sunday, 5 June 2016

Shoe Saga...

This was no ordinary torn, worn out shoe abandoned near a central Mumbai suburb. In its glory days, it had been an elegant pair of leather boot hailing from an expensive Italian brand, to be found to settle only around respectable feet with the slightest inclination toward the kind of flamboyance so characteristic of the 80s Mumbai. Despite the blackened edges, it still retained some of its previous glory and struck an odd sight near the contrasting green garbage bin.

I was to wait for my morning auto just a few feet away from the bin. While covering my nose to get rid of the disgusting stench, I could never stop myself from taking a quick glance at the shoe - surprised how it stood out everyday, despite my knowledge of it being there.

Thanks to my romantic self, I would spend the better half of my morning trying to imagine the life it might have seen before being dumped here. The warmth of its wearer's feet during the infamous Mumbai winter, the beads of sweat mixed with the smell of his socks during the humid days, the times he had flung it out of passion while making love to his woman, the times he had slowly and methodically tied its laces to get over the humiliation of rejection, the fervent tying and untying and retying of its laces before an interview and the last time he put his feet in it - grateful for the companionship it has offered him over the years, pained at the realisation of its inevitable end and yet excited about the possibility of buying a better and newer and probably more expensive pair. I wondered what this pair might have felt like when it was dusted one last time and hung on to the rack, never to be touched again. I wondered how it must have felt being a mute spectator to the new member of the rack acquiring its place with absolutely no history with its owner. I wondered if it shared with its successor how its owner made a squashy sound the first day it rained in the city, catching him unaware and forcing him to walk down muddy and water - logged streets in his favourite leather boots. And the darkest secret of his sniffing his socks and the boots every once in a while when he didn't have company and wonder what it'd be like to be made to go down on his fours and have the socks stuffed into his mouth, the lace tied around his neck and tugged at every now and then and the other pair being used on his exposed buttock for his alleged insubordination. And how he would weep throughout the night once the dark moments of fantasy gave way to the scary awakening of his senses.

I wondered how it came to be here, near this bin, out in the open to die its natural death. I wondered whether it was left there as unceremoniously as it's surviving now or there were silent tears or even better, a grand farewell. Or maybe during the riots of 1993, when the rest of the country was struggling with the ugly face of natinalism gnawing at the very definition of unity in diversity this country is so proud of, a Parsi gentleman was being chased by the faceless goons one fine evening and his favourite leather shoe slipped out of his feet while he was running for his life. Maybe a few feet down the road, where my auto takes a turn toward the main road is where he was finally put to rest - bloodied, bruised and without a shoe. And his favourite shoe, a few feet away from his lifeless body, stood a silent witness to a shameful history.

Dress - Linking Road, tassel neckpiece and sliders - Colaba, lipstick - Arresting Pink by Colorbar