Equipped with several odd tools and an impeccable skill to transform old shoes into brand new ones, cobblers dot many lanes of Kolkata. Popularly known as ‘mochi’ the cobblers have been an age-old resource for extending the lifespan of simple slippers to fancy footwear alike.
I remember visiting the cobbler who was fondly referred by many as ‘Chacha’ He was a no less than a magician! Looking back at one particular incident, I remember how my favourite, embellished Catwalk stilettos were restored to all its glory by him!
A slight digression from the posts about hawkers, this one highlights a profession that is fast vanishing. Speaking volumes about the many professions that have sprung up to provide utility, cobblers have been the go-to people for not only repairing of shoes but also for many other tasks such as adding a zip to a duffel or a stitch or two for the torn cloth bags.
Chacha would set up his small shop on the pavement, next to the sandwich stall. Afternoons would be busy; attending his little customers from the school nearby, chacha’s thread and needle worked quick. His wooden box was full of resources aka his magic box! Laces of vivid colours and patterns, containers of the famous cherry blossom, threads and needles, stacks of soles and brushes of many sizes made up the artisan’s box. While he worked on the shoes for his little customer, the child stood waiting, wearing a spare set of slippers. Eyes filled with curiosity, he watched the artisan at work! How well we learn, when we watch!
Within 5 mins, the shoes were ready! The entire activity costed not more than Rs. 10 and voila, the shoes shall now sustain for more than 6 months at least! Talk about reduce, reuse and recycle! 🙂 Don’t they play a crucial role in reducing wastage?
What is further more impressive to know is that Chacha can himself make varieties of beautiful, durable shoes from scratch!
More power to the shoe-shiners of our country, who work hard everyday to help us look our best, be it for an interview, a wedding function and more!
Pic Courtesy – http://www.hiveminer.com