How I discovered the joys of simplicity
Updated: Apr 24
There are some things that continue to amaze me about being in India. The Jugaad concept that runs deep within our veins and our system. The world has been practicing waste management and recycling in the recent decades but in India this has been a practice since ages.
A recent experience of mine brought me so much joy.... I have a pair of fit flops that I had brought from the US and happen to be my favourite pair of feet cover as they r most comfortable. Fit Flops by no means are very affordable. They cost me $70 for a pair. Last two years I've been wearing them regularly and the toe hold had started to become loose. However, I continued to wear them till it finally broke. As heart broken as I was... I thought let me look for a cobbler who could maybe fix it for me. Had this been a western country, without a doubt I would've have placed it in the trash.
So I drove around my area looking for a shoesmith. And there I found this young lad on the pavement, working on various kind of shoes and bags diligently. I stopped my car, stepped out and took out the slipper from my bag. He looked up asking me what I needed to be done. I explained that the slipper was broken and wasn't sure if it was fixable. He looked at the flop and said yes I can fix it , but you have to wait for ten minutes till I finish my job at hand. And then he said it'll cost you ₹20. My jaw dropped. Excitedly I waited. He picked up my slipped looked at it and took out a matching leather strip cut it meticulously, shaped it around the toe and started to sew it
Two minutes and my fit flops was sturdy and as good as new! I couldn't thank him enough. My favourite flip flop was back and now even sturdier and better !
He took just ₹20 (35 cents). That's all it took to repair and make it usable again. So , it saved one product from being a part of the landfill which is becoming the cause of much of our environmental hazards.
India is full of such small repair shops where anything and everything (even the most advanced technology gadgets ) can be repaired by a person who may have probably never attended school . Makes you think, the skill sets learnt from an early age make us the master ... Not just the text books. It's ironic that these very services if offered in the western nations would fetch them great income and uplift their lives. However, here they struggle to make their ends meet.
I wish there was a way we could recognise this talent and use it to recycle more and uplift their lives and reward them for their work of being a strong contributor to saving this planet!
Mohit the cobbler sits on the pavement across Bus stand 26 in Pratap Nagar Area (near NRI circle).They are contributing to recycle goods and give them long lives so they don't keep filling up the landfills. They are teh heroes that are removing others carbon footprints through their skills.
My humble request to all..... Please do not bargain with them. Thy deserve every penny that they ask for their service. We can spend thousands of rupees eating and drinking in a restaurant and we leave heavy tips even when service is not upto our expectation. And then we bargain with our vegetable vendors and cobblers who actually need that income for their ends to meet.... Let's be large hearted and generous towards those who need it the most!