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08 April 2007

Sandals for dead soles

Kolhapuri chappals from Maharasthra, IndiaWE ALL know about the hard-selling spirit of Indian entrepreneurship, but this afternoon's comic incident at a handicrafts fair in Bandra (Mumbai suburb) gave a new spin on that spirit.

I visited the fair for Kolhapuri chappals for my brother Allan. Hand-stitched in leather, these traditional Maharashtrian sandals are highly durable, yet Allan still wanted the best. His request was specific. “Paul, ang gusto ko, kahit patay na ang paa, buhay pa rin ang sandals (I want something so durable that even when the feet have died, the sandals are still working).”

There was only one booth selling sandals at the fair. I asked the salesman if his sandals were strong enough.

“Are your chappals good for dead feet?”

It took a few moments for him to comprehend my question, but the response was straight-faced and energetic. “Of course, of course! All my sandals are good for dead feet! What size you want?”

He gave me my size. “But it doesn't seem to fit dead feet,” I countered.

“That size is good for dead feet. Here, I have two designs. Take both. Very good leather and very cheap.” He was still straight-faced.

“So if my feet die, are these sandals going to live?”

Again, the momentary pause. Then came the earnest reply.

“Saab, touch the leather. It feels like dead feet nah. It will stay with you always. Buy now before too late. How many you want?”

He won. This dead-serious businessman with unrelenting confidence made me buy two pairs of Kolhapuri sandals. Allan—and whatever dead feet he had—would be very pleased!


Visual Merchandisers' Association of the Philippines said...

I was eating my heart out crying to death because of laughter while reading this. Ikaw Paul ha, you never told us that you're a good photojournalist aside from being an outstanding designer. We'll be pleased if you'll share some of your crazy ideas in our blog.
Hilarious story, by the way.


Paul Ancheta said...

I will, but only if you make sure that Marikina sandals fit the dead feet of the most cruel boss of any VMAP member!

Aya A. said...

tito you're a riot! missin you lots !!!

Visual Merchandisers' Association of the Philippines said...

Hhmmm.. I can't promise that but novelty manufacturers from Sagada can certainly customize leather sandals specifically for their bosses' petrified, dead feet. Really! In my recent trip to Puerto Galera, I chanced to know this guy of which, with his edgy "tampipi" came downhill all the way from their caves to sell goodies including some creepy voodoo dolls and uh-hmm, wooden adult toys (you know, the classic "bul-ol" guy inside a wine barrel). His creativity in hand-stitching fine quality leathers made me buy two customized shoulder bags and three minion amulets. Oreng, as local folks call him, will do the actual stitching of your purchased raw materials live and upfront. I'm certain he can create the same kind of sandals in Allan's preference. He won't find it difficult to make one anyway because he can actually fit it in their natives' feet in a nearby graveyard before launching it to the commercial market! Baka mawalan na ng customer ang Francesco at ang Rusty Lopez. Hahaha!!!

Paul Ancheta said...

Aya, I got your beads and glassy stuff from the same fair! Don't worry, the seller was not dead. She was so alive--too alive, in fact. Her mouth was non-stop in selling me your beads.

Are you enjoying those glassy stuff?

Paul Ancheta said...

Feri, can you imagine how the window display of Oreng's graveyard-fitted sandals would look like if he decided to open a store and do a "SALE" event?

It would read: "Oreng's Grand Sale! Everything must go down! Including your feet!"

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