Wednesday, January 4

These boots are made for walkin'

Today, I returned a pair of leather boots. And felt wonderful.

I don't know when I quietly began adjusting to shoes and clothes. A number of shirts and trousers in my wardrobe are a shade baggy. While I have no fanciful notions about tight tees and jeans that seem painted on (still don't get the point of slim fits), I am certainly not fond of garments billowing like the Spanish Armada either. Yet, anyone with reasonable vision only needs to glance in my direction to understand that I don't wear clothes as much as they envelop me. Shirts that are an inch too long. Trousers waists with interesting drag coefficients that cling limpet-like for dear life to various belts. And then, there's my ancient nemesis - shoes.

To say that I have a difficult relationship with shoes is like saying ice cubes have a troublesome time with heat. It's practically an independent branch of the occult arts. Take me to a shoe store. Ask me to pick a shoe. Then ask the sales chappie who has oiled over to find it in my size. He will confidently tell his junior associate (Raju, Chottu, Munna, etc.) to find it in the storeroom. I will spend the time perfecting my Dalai Lama expression. The rummaging will begin energetically and noisily enough. Within a minute though, it will begin to tail off until there is complete, sepulchral silence, so thick that Agatha Christie could easily slather generous portions of it onto her books. Said junior associate will then peep out of the storeroom, the light of defeat shining brightly and announce what I've known all along - it's not available in my size.

The salesman will smile helplessly. I will smile back. Full of desperate hope, he will suggest another shoe, something way more expensive and equally hideous. I'll look at the price tag, feel my kidney, then shrug and refuse. The salesman will let out a sigh and tootle off to his corner from where his eyes will then follow me as I root around the store, looking for something to salvage the day. 9 times out of 10, I won't find anything. On the 10th occasion, I'll discover another bearable option and we'll get back on the merry-go-round. It never fails.

In college, I realised life was not going to be kind to me in the shoe department. I'd spotted a pair of Reebok sneakers somewhere and decided to purchase them. The Camp store had them all right. In a bigger size. I bought them, brought them home and wore them. My mother dryly observed that I was a shoo-in (hehehe) for Clown College. Chastised, I returned them, hunting and haunting the J.M and F.C Road branches for a month before I found them in my size. Of course, they weren't available in the colour I wanted. I bought them anyway.

I had taken my first, inauspicious step on my shoe journey. It has left me footsore. Every now and then, I'll give in to a moment of weakness and order a pair online or try it in-store. And quietly return the pair the following day, promising to bring my optimism to heel. But it would seem there is still a sliver of hope buried deep within my sole. How else can I explain my recent interest in a pair of leather boots? It was sheer lunacy. But I bought them (in the smallest size available) anyway. The moment I slipped my foot in, I knew massive fuck-up-ery had happened again. They didn't fit right and were god-awfully uncomfortable. Rather like walking with a pair of weights tied to my feet. Weights that bit into my heels. It was a day of misery.

As I plodded home last night, wincing with every step, I thought about the stupidity of the situation. Here I was, an adult, making independent choices on a daily basis. Was I actually trying to convince myself that the pain and discomfort were worth it? I got home and eased the shoes off. The flood of relief that washed over me was, well... beyond words. Right then, it struck me - I didn't have to suffer this. The shoes could be returned. Life is too short to put up with, adjust to, compromise on many many things. I've started with shoes. What about you?

Song for the moment: I walk the line - Johnny Cash         

Monday, January 2

Break it down again

Lots of people would say the changing of the year is an artificial construct and serves no purpose. Part of me agrees.

Another part of me is flipping those people the bird. In the greater scheme of things, maybe there's nothing great about going from December to January, 6 to 7. In the greater scheme of things though, nothing really matters.

The changing of the year allows us to drop anchor. Close doors. Turn the page. It helps fool our minds. Considering how dangerously powerful the brain is, that's a good thing. Otherwise, what's stopping us from giving up? From staying on the stationary bicycle of bad habits, pedalling away to nowhere?

We / I need the changing of the year to want to make some difference in my life too. I'm not saying this will be the year I meet the girl of my dreams, come up with the kick-ass, award-winning ad campaign and finally achieve a measure of sustained satisfaction. But I want to try. And, if the new year is what it takes to fool myself that I can change myself and taste even a sliver of the cheese cake of happiness, why not?

2016 showed me a few things. About work, love, luck, foolishness and even making plans. Whether I learn anything from the milestones of the last year is something to see.

Sometimes, the main road was so damn smooth, I rode right past interesting side lanes.
Which was stupid.


Sometimes the dreams were so beautiful, waking up was the last thing on my mind.
Which was a pity.


But all that is history. Or so I like to tell myself. Either way, 2017 deserves a fair chance. All I can do is unfurl the sails and hope for fair winds and smooth seas. And the strength to endure.

Better new year everyone.

Song for the moment: Mad World - Tears for Fears / Paul Kalkbrenner Remix