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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Wearer of the shoe...

Oh my God! Another pair? Where are you going to keep it now? Couldn't you have waited for the sale? You must start throwing out the old ones for god sake. People say many things... but only the wearer of the shoe knows where it bites. Only if you are a crazy shoe lover like me you would not throw a shoe at me for this post.

Forever hunting for the right pair and colour, I have just brought home my [I guess] 52nd pair. Long ago, I stopped paying attention to anyone who wanted to call me Imelda Marcos. My focus is/has always been... on finding more space in my apartment to safely store my precious new one [oh-so-soft ankle length suede this time].

Some people could kill for new clothes, some love bags, some stand in long queues to get their hands on the newest gadget, but my eyes capture only pretty pairs of footwear.

It is actually the other way round - they capture me [is 'imprison me' or 'freeze me' a better usage?].

I have a weird relationship with shoes and sandals... one look at the next 'precious' pair and I feel empowered to have it anyway. There are times I feel like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings - perplexed and joyously ecstatic the same time – caught between an evil vice and a profound need to carry on [buying that one more pair!].

Of course by now you have guessed that shoes are my biggest weakness in the material world. I don't need to be a fashion guru to say that footwear can make or break the rest of your attire. Sometimes the right pair completes the look but are not comfortable enough... when they are... it just makes me the real person I am singing and dancing all over the place. If you see me stuck in one corner at a gathering it is usually because of shoe bites... not because am snooty. Again, only the wearer of the shoe knows... all that crap.

The problem is that now there is literally no space to store new buys. To make storing easier [or simply engage in my secret hobby of looking at my collection] - I have sorted the most-used for work, from the party wear and casual pairs. Will you believe if I say I have a shoes stored in my kitchen too [and even over the cupboards! Don't worry I have a ladder that I use very frequently to reach almost every where. If you have seen me you would know am not the tallest person on earth.]

Small feet are to my advantage because in the same space where a normal pair fits in... I can squeeze in two of mine sometimes, of course only if I throw the boxes out. I keep searching on youtube for secret storage solution ideas [by strange people who speak in Chinese- or Japanese-English...]. They seem to know many ways to make the most of all small spaces.

This small-size advantage turns sour when the smallest size in the shop doesn't fit me. At times I have bought a size bigger and managed with insoles - only a shoe lover will understand the thought of missing ‘the best ever pair’. You cant simply walk away just because the shop did not stock the required fit.

Mom used to rule out no more than one rack for each one of us siblings, insisting that I must start tossing old ones or give them away. How do I give them away when I have literally the smallest feet in the world? In all honesty I have tried doing that with a heavy heart... and people turn around and say my child who is 10 years old has bigger feet!

Title: Selfie; Medium: Gouache on card paper; 

Back to space-finding... there are those Gollum-like days when I feel meek/helpless snooping around once again to accidentally discover that magical new space in some corner of the same house. That hope still remains an eternal hope in my current home away from home.

Finding space is sometimes more difficult than finding the right pair.

Space is a problem while travelling with limited baggage too [obviously the rising petrol prices and airline weight-limit rules trouble people who need more than one pair of shoe... when each pair must travel safe in their respective boxes]. My mom goes into fits when she sees what all am packing into my luggage and mumbles each time - 'whatever it means to travel light'. And she does not miss the opportunity to count the pairs and embarrass me while I would be struggling to fit them into the already full baggage. With a difficult feet size like mine, I can’t take the risk of spoiling a [any] good pair [They need to go in their boxes. Period!]. A classic problem of many.

There is no logic to why I bought another black pair while visiting Paris [isn't it unpardonable to not shop for shoes when you are in the world’s most fashionable city?]. And those juttis from Jaipur may not be the sort that people wear to work in Dubai but who knows someday I might just decide to wear those irresistibly elegant handmade ones [though right now they are just packed away safely]. And whoever thinks flat shoes are for taller people, can keep that opinion to self!

While friends admire my collection, mom reminds... remaining rude to the bones.. about how mindless I am despite being however old I am. It has become her habit to howl at the very mention of a regular pair going dull. She won’t agree that I need another pair for any reason. She says I must compromise on either a baby pink, a nude pink, faun or off-white - as they are all near to nude. She sometimes keeps a Vogue magazine's copy to prove a point right. Her focus remains on dissuading me from spending money on another shoe by hook or crook... just as much as it interests me to convince her with math... that has compound interests calculating various missed occasions I could have bought myself a gift... also proving that I have enough money to splurge because I did not spend on anything else [along with money saved as I am a teetotaler and keep no help at home etc etc]. We make a winning duo in this aspect - for not giving up.

This weekend when I picked the 52nd pair, she repeated it for the last time [No matter what! Again!], that a replacement has to be a replacement – one goes out, only then another comes in. Feeling perplexed like Gollum, I did not utter a word but my oh-so-soft ‘new precious’ pair empowered me to own it anyway while the focus on finding that magical new space solution continues.

Mom read this write up and asked me to be honest with my readers... that I have miserable maths too. She bets I have 152 pairs!!! Well I am not going to do a re-count and end up proving her right ;)

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