12 Oct 2019
Buying new footwear is usually a happy experience because firstly it means you have legs to begin with, and secondly you have the money to spend.
But for me there’s always some anxiety because firstly the shoes I currently own must be falling apart, and secondly, the retailers may not stock the shoe types that meet the conditions of my feet. (Shoes don’t keep well in our humid climate so it’s pointless to purchase standby pieces)
As my left foot has no gripping ability, Mary Janes have become a necessity. As my left sole needs to be elevated to compensate my limp & reduce fatigue, Mary Janes with flat soles made of certain materials are non-negotiables.
The man who makes my shoe purchase a wearable reality is a cobbler who has been faithfully elevating my sole for years.
He’s the man I think about before I buy any new shoes. ♥️😊
We speak about 3-4 times once every 2 years. And it’s always about my shoes and when will they be ready for collection after he has done the sole elevation.
I used to think he was just a slow cobbler but through years of interaction with him, I realised he puts in a lot of thought & effort into the shoes that are entrusted to him for mending and alteration.
Whether you are bringing him a pair of Chanels, Ferragamos or Batas, this soft-spoken, bespectacled scholarly-looking cobbler treats all clients with cautious non-attachment.
And when my shoes are ready for collection, it’s never just a business transaction. With a child-like pride, he’ll point out to me the customisation that’s been done and his thought processes behind them.
From him I learnt that there’s no one-size -fits-all solution with foot issues. His wisdom and compassion in making the best fit for people who go to him cost him a lot of time and energy, and sometimes his reputation. His dedication just cannot be measured in dollars & cents.
My cobbler hasn’t increased his charges with my shoe work for years. When I insisted on paying him a bit more, he stuck to the old price & said, “It’s ok. I can still manage. The main thing here is you can walk more easily.”
Of all the depictions of Lord Ganesha, my favourite has always been the one in which he stands on one foot and dances the Universe into being.
My cobbler is operating his business all on his own now. His business partners have left because they felt that the return on investment was not promising.
So I wish for my cobbler the stamina to stand on one foot like Lord Ganesha, and receive the blessings of good clients & prosperity as he works alone to bring relief to all who need shoe repair and realignment in order to complete their own dance with life. 🙏