Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe.......

Every now and then it is very common for my children to come to me with a complaint that the zip of their school bag has come off or the sole of their shoe has come apart or the watch has stopped working and so on and so forth. Each time this happens they ask me for a new one to replace any of the above mentioned items. I tell them that all these can be repaired and can be used for the next ten years and they stare at me amazed.

I realise that unlike olden times our children are getting used to the use and throw culture. Once some thing as small as a zip of the bag is not working they think that it is time to discard it and buy a new one. One cannot really blame them. I guess from the time plastic was invented mass manufacture right from toys to kitchen ware lead to use and discard practice. Over a period of time the children have therefore got used to this.

I remember when we were children and when we had to get our shoe mended we used to go to the cobbler and really enjoy seeing him deftly mending it. Similarly if our kitchen knives were to be sharpened there would be these people who would come and do it (I do not know what they were called) They used to have a metal wheel which they would rotate and hold the knife against it and we would enjoy seeing the sparks fly as they would sharpen the knife. There would also be people who would polish the zari on the sarees, or polish silver ware and so on. But over a period of time these utility professionals yet who were a very integral part of our lives have slowly disappeared from our life.

Just the other day my son told me that the entire sole of his football shoe had come off and he had to get a new one as he had an important match to play. Well I was aghast as it had been bought not so long ago. I told him that this could be repaired and  I took my very much sceptical son  to a cobbler whom I had just seen open shop close to my house and as we stood there waiting, I was once again mesmorised as his deft fingers nimbly sewed the shoe and within ten minutes when we got the shoe back my son was amazed to see such neat and perfect work and as good as new shoe. He was very happy. That day he learnt that discarding need not be the only solution. As we walked back I pondered sadly as to how long before will these people who have been an important part of our lives last in their specialised profession in this age of technology?

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