Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shoe Repair

Audrey and I were in Sarojini Nagar market (one of our favorites) to do some shopping a few days ago. As we walked I noticed that the tips of my sandals were starting to come apart. Good footwear is essential in a place like India. This particular pair are made by "Keen" and I wear them almost everyday. I figured I'd take a chance and try out one of the local shoe repair guys. They usually sit along the curb near the Mehndi (Henna) artists in this large, rather famous, central Delhi market. Audrey wanted some mehndi on one of her hands anyway, so while she picked out her design (and negotiated her price) with one of the artists, I walked a few steps down the street to see the shoe man about my problem.
He gestured for me to sit down on his small stool and then had me take off my sandals. He examined them thoroughly, and then rummaged through his many tubes, canisters, brushes and bottles. After obviously not finding what he wanted, he looked up at me and put his finger in the air saying: "Aik minute." Then he stood up and disappeared down the street leaving me to sit alone on his stool in the hot sunshine.
I glanced over my shoulder. Audrey's mendhi-artist was still working on her hand, so I just sat there and wondered where my shoe guy had disappeared to... and if I would ever see my sandals again?
But sure enough in a few minutes he re-emerged from the crowded market street with my shoes in his hands and sat back down beside me. "Hanji," (Good) he said waggling his head. "New and best." I wagged my head back to him grinning and saying: "Teek, teek hai. Hanji!" (Ok, okay. Good!) My shoe guy also had a big smile on his face. The sandals looked as good as new. He must have used some sort of glue on them and then buffed and polished my sandals back to their original state in just a few short minutes. The man smiled and asked me for 20 rupees (about $.40) for his time and talent.
Then I turned back to see Audrey now standing next to me proudly displaying the beautiful new henna-design on her hand. Since we were both done, we decided we'd venture back into Sarojini Nagar to see what else we could discover...


merinda said...

Jealous again! When we lived in Delhi the shoe-wallah would come to our house periodically. We'd gather up all the shoes that needed attention, he'd sit outside our door and work on them for a bit, and a few dollars later we'd have repaired and polished shoes for the whole household.

Cindy said...

Beautiful Henna painting!

HouseBoy said...

Sometimes you can't beat the practical nature of India!