By Arshita Agarwal,
Peacefully napping, hidden in the corner of a gate opening into an RWA of a society, beside his acute arrangement of livelihood I could manage to notice the innocence on his face away from all insecurities of life.
Rising up frantically from my bed after throwing a hundred tantrums, I finally wake up and find my way to my fun-filled-life. What we all fail to understand and pay heed to, is that section of our society which wakes up at dawn and sleeps at midnight. There is a cobbler, who wakes up and starts up his day thinking about earning a meal for the family in the inflation hit country. Managing his old wooden box, he takes out all his tools, rubber mats, brushes, small boxes, shoes for a ‘display’, he carefully sets up his acute arrangement at nine in the morning. Placing everything where they are placed since seasons bygone, waiting for customers in the daylight.
Binda Das, a minuscule part of the cobbler community, sits at the foot of a massive Car Showroom in East Delhi, striving for a better tomorrow. The helpless ‘Mochi’ ardently waiting for customers, blocked from view, behind a huge cable drum, placed by the efficacious Municipal Corporation of Delhi, seems indifferent to all that is going around. Still, I could espy his sparkling eyes, as if they believe that this little place holds something good for him every day.
As rightly quoted by Langston Hughes, “hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly”.
Why is it, ironically enough, that we pay a huge amount to buy just a pair of shoes, and just a petty amount to get them repaired or polished?
Certain shoe companies in India presently produce around 50,000 pairs of footwear a day through its many manufacturing units, unlike our almost debt-ridden cobblers, only repairing shoes, on the pedestrian. The new generation ‘Mochis’ – directors and founders of famous shoe producing units had the vision for the shoe industry to start the business. They in turn had a keen eye for detail in manufacturing which led these companies to achieve new heights. Just so, if our real cobblers of India had such a striking power to see beyond lengths, Binda Das would have been a different story.