I saw a pair of shoes in our small camp shop day before yesterday. It was new and the shopkeeper was pricing it $20. It was nice, the shoe laces and soul look pretty good and seem to be strong. This one reminded me the previous shoe which was very strong and comfortable; I wore them from last 3 years and was thinking about to shop same brand. The previous one was no lace shoe and on its comparison this one was with lace and little unappealing, but don’t know why I was staring the shoe constantly. The shopkeeper was insisting me to buy it and was saying that the shoe costs $165 online. I smiled at him and told him that I’ll buy only if he gives me them for $10. He looked at me in furiously. I told him, ‘Okay $15, fine?’ He replied, ‘Sir, I myself paid $16, please consider about it’ He added proudly, ‘Sir, go to see in your computer, this shoe costs 150$ now’. A minute before his shoe was costing $165 in ‘my computer’ and instantly has lessened by 15 dollar? It was not his fault, actually he didn’t knew the accurate price but he knew that the shoe is good so he was guessing the amount. Just a day ago, he was showing me one so called ‘original’ Q&Q watch with bill, when I saw the bill it was reading ‘Amriton’ (different branded watch). I explained him about it and advised him not to show the bill to others anymore. He is working as labor, poor fellow trying hard to earn few extra dollars in the time after his regular duty. The same time which we waste watching movies, pornography and gossiping, he used to be shouting outside ‘Common Common, Sale Sale, Sir buy this’. I feel good for him on the windy and rainy evenings thinking that he got the chance to rest. I was still looking at the shoe, I was puzzled, and the Indian guy standing behind me was seeing the shoe monotonously. I knew he didn’t like the shoe, but I still managed to ask him about his opinion about it. He didn’t say anything, hold by his two hands and squeeze the shoe from the middle. I have seen other people doing same before also, that must be the way to check the strength and originality of the shoe, but I never tried it because I didn’t knew what to see after squeezing the shoe. I used to be afraid if the shoe is reproduced and if the sole breaks while squeezing that badly; I may have to pay unnecessarily. So I never dared to try this method ever. The Indian handed the shoe to me, now his expression was bit satisfactory. Then I tried the shoe and it was exactly fit my size. I was sure that the shoe wont fits him so that he was not so interested. I took the shoes, but didn’t pay him. This is what we always do. We are not allowed to shop in the American Stores, may be they are scared that we Asians will steal the things from their stores, and so we buy needed things from these shops or ask home to send the parcel. Most of the items we get in these stall were mostly the gifts given by the Americans to their employees and the employees used to sell them to the shopkeepers in the camp so sometimes we can get exclusive items also. I felt the shoe is exclusive one and was scared that someone else will pay more and buy it so I didn’t wanted to wait for tomorrow. I just picked the shoes without bargaining anymore and left to the room. We get fix cash as monthly advance (50 – 100$) from the company and rest of balance company transfers to our beneficiary account back home. We buy essentials, pay credits & party sometime by that amount of money. He knows that I’ll pay him after cash advance so he didn’t say anything. The same Indian was walking with me; he asked me how much I paid for it. He didn’t understand the bargaining conversation because I was speaking with the shopkeeper in my native language, Nepalese. I told him’$25’. I am really bad in lying people and worse in doing profitable business. But I dared it today. The Indian shake his head and we parted to our rooms.
My worst habit is I have to try the new item immediately. I don’t know what others do but I can’t sleep if I don’t try them. In my teen days when I used to return from shopping, if somebody sees my shopping bag, they’d see the only old clothes inside because the new clothes which I just shopped; I was already wearing them. I wonder now, what did that storeowner used to think about me? But those were my childhood days. And the habit is still not changed yet. I hurriedly changed my cloths and tried the shoes. I was wearing the shorts. White shorts, my hairy legs and the shoe…awe, they look really bad. I was disappointed now. I saw properly, there was very bad mark of glue in the joint of the shoe leather and rubber sole. I got mad, why these shoe manufacturers don’t assign proper people to stick the glue in the shoes? Then I touched the leather, felt like its genuine. Felt relief. I explored almost everything about the shoe alone in the room. It was a safety shoe had a steel toe on it, must be gifted to their fellow workers. May be the size didn’t fitted so he sold them to storekeeper. I kept my new shoe in my shoe rack and started reading my regular novel. After a while my roommate came, we had some casual discussion, then I told if he want to buy new pair of shoes. He asked about the shoes, I told him to go and see my shoe rack. He went and brought them to me, ‘Are they new?’ he questioned. The shoe is so new, why is this idiot asking me like this? I said ‘Yes’, his expression was same as the previous Indian had. Then he asked the price. I replied him 25$. Today for the second time I lied money. Oh I am growing smart or fraud? Either he didn’t dare to say the shoe is bad or he can’t decide, he only said ‘Its fine’. After two unpleasant reviews, I wasn’t that eager to show my shoes to another room partner. I started reading novel ‘Snow’ by Orhan Pamuk. A very un-romantic Turkish novel. My mind never concentrates in a book while reading, read one phrase and one particular word drags my attention and then I’m lost in flashback, thinking sense / nonsense and become like a paused character of the movie playing in DVD. Sometimes I wonder why I am like this, why I imagine so much unnecessarily. But I can’t stop myself. Same happened that night, while reading, there was a phrase describing snow in Kars City, I started imagining myself walking in snow, then imagined snow boots, then suddenly I remembered my ‘new’ shoes. Why did I buy that shoe? Even if I could convince the shopkeeper nicely I have to pay minimum 18 bucks for it. Nobody liked it. Even when I tried, it didn’t suit me. Mark of glue is clearly seen in the joint. It seems too big for me now. Don’t know how it fit to be before on the shop? I could buy better US army boots by that amount. Shall I return it back tomorrow? Uff……!! Ah returning back is really bad idea. I am very uncomfortable on this matter. It may hurt the feeling of shopkeeper. Its fine, I will wear it everyday until I return back home and throw before leave. This month I don’t have credit to pay anybody else and I have to get some money from my friend too so I shouldn’t worry about paying for it. It may be original piece too. I will try with jeans tomorrow and may suit. May be it cost more as the shopkeeper said. My hands were holding book on my chest, eyes were on the book but my mind was thinking all this. Oh, I stopped reading, can’t concentrate anymore. And my eyes were burning too. Felt asleep.
After alarm bell rang twice, woke up. Way to restroom, my dear new shoes were wishing me good morning from the rack; my expression was like as a step mother does on her step son’s smile. Came back, now while thinking I’m going to wear new shoes today I was little excited. Dressed up, days dress menu was 6 pocket cargo pant and t-shirt, and I tried the new shoe, it really didn’t match with my pants. Green pant with brown shoes was not a proper combination. So I postponed my plan to wear new shoes, wore sneaker and went office. Day was normal. Told my friends too that I bought a new pair of shoes in 25$. After work to room, the shopkeeper was smiling at me. Jokingly I asked him if he want to buy new shoes from me. He told that another person came there asking for them, he was ready to pay 20 bucks. I told him to come to my room and get the shoes. He denied my offer, I told him that I am gonna pay him only 15 bucks, so it will be better for himself to sell it to another guy. He tried to convince me, ‘Sir, go and see in your ‘computer’, I saw today it was 65$’. It was funny, his stock market crashed from 165$ to 65$ overnight. It was innocence too. I skipped him and went to room. Read for a while and slept.
This morning, as usual, after double alarm rang, I woke up. Ran to rest room, and today I didn’t even give a look to my new shoes, neither did I last night. Just like a step father ignores his step son when he calls dad to him. Ugly in look, bigger in size, worthless, duplicated…. Oh, I had a very hatred relation with my new shoe. Returned back to room, wow its jeans turn today, I love jeans. Who don’t? Today’s dress code was Jeans with check shirt. Tried new shoes with jeans, they look Okay. Then I walked to office. While walking I saw my behind, jeans was folded in the back of shoes, adjusted them once. Neither I neither love my new footwear nor hate them; but I was not able to ignore them. My eyes were always on my feet. I hope everybody does that when they wear something new for first time. If not either the item is worthless, or the one is psycho. I am not. So was looking myself walking regularly. Felt like the shoes are little big and very brown. I hated the color, and was afraid if somebody sees the glue marks in the joint. I had an encounter with another shopkeeper, we greet each other, and then we started walking along. On the way I asked me how my new shoes were. ‘New?’ he responded in his Telugu tone. He acted like he’s surprised and when I say “Yes” he said ‘Oh, nice’. His ‘New?’ with dazing tone made me to think twice, either he meant ‘Wow new!! Nice shoes, congrats’ or he meant ‘Are you sure they are new? They don’t seem to be ‘, but he ended with only ‘nice’. I wanted to skip him now; even he doesn’t speak too much. Went to mess hall, had break fast. There were my friends waiting, I show my shoes to my friends; I guessed one didn’t hear me, another looked down. ‘Hey you spent 25 bucks in these shoes?’ he shouted to me. I didn’t speak anything. Just ate and headed to office. Second friend explored my shoes only now while walking, ‘Wow new shoes’ another friend replied, ‘He paid 25 bucks for them’. “Not so bad’ second replied. But I understood all. My new shoes has hurt my feelings very badly. I started thinking about my self respect. I was thinking either these shoes are really very bad or only I am overacting? When I reached my office, suddenly logged my pc, started ‘ultra surf’ (it’s a bypass to access internet) opened Google, searched ‘Nautilus Shoes in Amazon.com’ Once clicked enter; there are about 837,000 results (0.26 seconds). How fast do they do this? It’s impossible now to imagine life without web now. That’s why I frequently blame them making the technology faster than needed and the generation slower than necessary. I choose the first Amazon link, filter by men. There were a lot of shoes so again I filter with work shoes; there came a lot of pictures of shoes with this brand. I start looking at my feet and to the screen. Finally I found the exactly same shoe I was wearing now. ”Nautilus Men’s 1303 Slip Resistant Lace up Hiker, Full-grain water-resistant leather, Rubber sole………Price: $97.95 – $99.89”. Now immediately after seeing the price tag, I start feeling proud of my feet. Zoom the picture, the glue marks were seen in that picture also; now I became sure that I got the original piece. Now I was satisfied, feeling my shoe is not worthless. Wow, I am wearing $100 worthy shoes and I am gonna pay only 18 bucks for them. Now I was happy. Called my friends and show the price in the web. I don’t know what they think but I was just starting enjoying the comfort of the shoes. My room partners, those two shopkeepers’ and my friends view may remain same about my shoes forever but mine is changed now. I have started liking my shoes now. All because of the price tag. A web page changed my mind in few minutes. It was neither a selfishness nor greediness; it was just a natural act; I believe all being do same thing.
LOL, Its my blog.