"Shoes" and "Bitterness"

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These are two short stories based on real incidents.

Submitted: May 20, 2017

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Submitted: May 20, 2017




It is an incident when I was studying  in middle class.  Being one of the brilliant student, I was taken care of my class teacher and the head master.  They were aware of our financial condition.

This was winter season and as usual I was not having winter clothes.  One day my head master came to my classroom.  My class teacher whispered something. After class was over, my class teacher told me to see head master.

I was somewhat scared. I thought something has gone wrong that’s why head master has called me.  So I entered his room hesitantly with folded hands.  Head master told me to come closer and listen to him.  In a very sympathetic tone he told me “ you are very brilliant student of our school, I want that you should be help out.  I have planned to provide you with some dress and shoes out of our school funds”. He advised me to contact some cobbler for shoes and a cloth shop to purchase dress. I thanked him and came out of room.  It was really reverse what I thought before entering his room.  I was filled with gratitude. In fact I was not having any dress and shoes for the winter season.

After coming home, I told my father what head master said. My father contacted one shopkeeper who was having cloth shop and a cobbler for making shoes. Shri Sai dutta was having various clothing in his shop but my father choose Malasia cloth ( dark gray), the barest cheaper one.  In those days this type of cloth was preferred by poor class people as it was having capacity to wore at least a week without washing. One cobbler residing nearby was also contacted for making shoes.  They were also told to meet head master.

Next morning, Shri Sai dutta and the cobbler reached school.  I informed head master about their arrival.  He discussed with Shri Sai dutta about requirement of cloth for stitching kurta and payajama including cost of cloth and paid him.  Then he talked to cobbler about cost of making shoes.  The cobbler told him some 10-11 rupees ( I don’t remember) and asked him to get money after completion of job.

After my classes were over, I reached my house.  My happiness was beyond expression.  I told my father about headmaster’s discussions with cobbler and payment made to Shri Sai dutta for dress material.

In the evening, I along with my father went to Shri Sai dutta’s shop to purchase cloth.  He gave us three and a half meters malasia cloth and it was given to a tailor for stitching whose charges were very less and on credit. The cobbler was also contacted and he promised to make shoes within a week time.

I was very fascinated about my dress and shoes and had a desire to get them as early as possible.  After two days I started visiting the tailor and the cobbler every day.  I was very keen to wear my new dress and shoes.  Coming days were full of excitement for me.  Every day I wanted to know the progress both from the tailor and the cobbler.

One fine evening, I went to the tailor and asked him about my dress.  My happiness was no bound to see that it was ready.  I took it and reached home. I immediately put on the dress.  Three-four of my friends living close by came.  I was showing the dress to them with utmost pride and explaining each and every merits of color and stitching.  I was talking to them putting my both hands inside pockets of my kurta to get them noticed that it is also having two side pockets.

Now it was turn of the cobbler to finish his task. Each and every delayed days by him were like years for me.  I was going to him every evening to know progress towards making my shoes. He always assured that he will complete it tomorrow and I used to come to my house in a state of despair. He took about ten days to make my shoes. One day, the cobbler came to my class room with a pair of black shoes. I was very much delighted and asked him to give immediately so that I can put on and see if these are comfortable.  The black color shoes with sparkling shinning were fit to my feets.  Now all students boys and girls gathered and every one were keen to put on in a state of eagerness.

Ultimately I took the cobbler to the head master room and he showed the shoes to him.  I told head master my satisfaction and payment was made to him.

Forty years passed.  Once I visited my home town for some function.  Incidentally that cobbler ( Shri Lakhi Ram) met me in the way.  He renewed all my past memories.  He told me “ ab to aap bade afsar ho gaye ho. Babu ji aap ko yaad hai meine aap ke jute banaye thea  jab tum school  mei  padte thea” (Now you are an officer. Do you remember I made your shoes when you were studying in the school). I nodded in affirmative and told him “ I can’t forget you and your shoes”.  That incident is printed on my heart.

In the evening, I sent somebody to call shri Lakhi Ram for tea.  He was telling whole story to all my friends and brothers sitting with me with a great pride. 



It is an incident of my home town in Haryana when I was only 10-11 years old.  It was a summer noon.  Everybody hide themselves in their houses due to high temperature.  Suddenly due to loud voices of crying and quarreling awakened whole family.


I along with my elder sister went to the spot which was just few meters away from our house.  A crowd of about 20-25 men and women was there and pursuing a young girl manglo for something.


Though I was very young but still curious to know what has happened. One middle aged lady Durga having a baby of less than one year in her lap was weeping bitterly and praying Manglo to feed the child.  Young boy Mangat was also standing besides his mother Durga in a pitiable posture and was expecting some sympathy from the gathering.


I along with my elder sister came closer to Durga to have some idea about the matter going on. Durga was praying repeatedly to Manglo to feed the child as he was not feeded since two days. Now the whole context was clear.  Young lady Manglo daughter of  Fakira was married to Mangat who was residing in a nearby village. Durga was Manglo’s mother-in-law and Mangat was her husband.  The infant crying bitterly was son of Manglo and Mangat.


After 3 years of their marriage they got a son.  Due to domestic quarrel Mangat and Manglo had strained relations.  One night Manglo left for his father’s house when her son was sleeping.  It was very difficult to manage the infant, so Durga and her son Mangat came to take Manglo back.


Many neighbors men and women were pursuing Manglo to feed the child but she was totally adamant not only to feed but to offer her lap to her son. At last Durga put her grand son in the lap of Manglo in a hope that being mother her bitterness will be overpowered by motherhood.  But that all was futile.  Immediately Manglo put the baby on ground and went inside her house. As soon as Manglo went inside, her parents joined the mob and told Durga that they are not willing to send their daughter along with them. She can get her son married to someone and we will our daughter.


Mangat and Durga were weeping bitterly and praying not to break the relations but neither Manglo nor her parents were ready to patch up.  This was not unusual in their community they belonged.


By this time it was evening.  Mangat and Durga along with baby who was still crying, left for their village in a state of despair and agony. This was talk of town for the next 3-4 days.  Though I was minor at that time but still having feeling in my heart.  The words coming from inside were “ what type of mother Manglo is”? “How a mother can be so cruel to her child”? “ Can relations be broken like this”? The screaming of child were sounding as if he was asking “ Mother what was my fault.  Why you have betrayed me”?



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