Friday, May 20, 2005

PUNE TITHE KAY UNE! (What could possibly be lacking in Pune!)

For all the fame of the US as the "land of plenty", especially for material goods, I was quite disappointed at the quality of two essential commodities that I bought here, which I found to be way much better in dear old Pune. These two are especially important for me since I love walking from home to school and back (not in the least as an ardently hopeful weight-losing device), especially in this weather:

1. Umbrella (Chatri): Even after buying THREE umbrellas with the design of the stars and stripes gloriously streaked on them, not one of them lived up to the promise of protecting their owner from the pelt of the Gods. The springs of two of them gave way almost days after I bought them, and the third, after turning inside out after a particularly severe gale, collapsed under its own weight. I actually used the first one for a couple of days, even with its spring broken and length elongated (A graduate student can have to make unimaginable compromises sometimes...), with the consequence that whenever I used to keep it in my backpack, my backpack would start looking like a tent, with some purported living creatures possibly living in it.
When I went to India, I bought a nice, sturdy, umbrella from a trusted local shop from "lakdi pool" (no pun) and until now, it has braved the elements like nothing before.

Sandals (Chappal): An ABSOLUTELY essential commodity for me. I have 'almost' flat feet, so that I find it painful to wear shoes over long distances, especially when I have to walk briskly. I spent millions of dollars on a grand footwear project funded by the FDA (Footwear Design Agency), trying out at least four different pairs of sandals of differing quality and cost. Alas! Not one of them endured my march to lab and back. In most cases, the soles simply collapsed, and in others, the velcro got worn out.
My feet finally found a savior in the simple, inexpensive chappals sold by the old cobbler ("shejarcha chambhar") who runs a dilapidated shop right next to our place in Pune. I have bought shoes and chappals from him since I was a centimeter tall, and even now, it was he who preserved my feet and sanity.

Old is gold, and there is always beauty in simplicity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree about the chappals!

5:43 PM  

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