Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Death of an old friend.. rather a pair

It was around this time of the year in 2000 when I bought my first pair of sneakers which my parents hadn’t paid for. God has blessed me with a weird foot size. Size 10 is a bit fit and 11 too loose. That being the principal knock down factor, a relentless pursuit for 3 continuous days in June heat in the discount stores or factory outlets, as they call them, in the by lanes of Parel, finally offered me a choice between a couple of pairs. And considering that my CA internship earned me a really modest stipend, there wasn’t much to chose from. I subsequently chose the white Nike joggers which comfortably fitted me. The conversation between me and Abhishek, who accompanied me on shopping was roughly on these lines:

Abhi: Dude nothing seems to fit you.. what does one eat to grow feet like yours?
Me: Will the blue sneakers be better? Will white look too Jitendra style?
Abhi: (struggling hard to muster that extra ounce of patience) Look why don’t you just decide on either of them..
Me: (looking in the mirror – front and sideways) These whites are damn comfortable.. Bless their soles..
Abhi: (despicably stares at me first and then at the irritated salesman as I imitate infront of the mirror) Yeah right! And they suit you a lot. Buy them. JUST DO IT.

I did.

For initial couple of times, the sneakers looked obnoxiously white. But the monsoons brought in kind of a worn-out look in them which I liked a lot. It’s hard even for me to believe now, but I did do a lot of jogging wearing my nikes. They were an inspiration in themselves to get up at 5.30 in morning and complete 5 rounds of the MIG grounds in Bandra before the sun rises with full fury, and before the women folk in the ground go away.. tellingly, they were an inspiration too :)

The most vivid memory of the utility of these sneakers is the grueling Sahyadri treks around Karjat in monsoons. Will write a post on one of my trekking expeditions soon. But these sneakers provided the requisite grip, ensuring survival and avoiding humiliation in the midst of slippery, trail-less treks.

Over the years, they were there for me when I needed them, like a faithful dog – showering me with undemanding adulation and comfort in return of friendship. The more worn out they looked, the more I liked them. But it was just a matter of time before the signs started showing. The sign came when the vulcanized latex layer at the bottom of the soft rubber, which forms the sole started peeling off. A common shoe ailment, which was promptly QuickfixedTM. But until then, the gap looked like a morbid smile on a dying sole. Not before long, other vital (rather, fatal) signs started showing. The spikes at the bottom wore out making it awkward to walk on slippery surfaces, the shoelace broke a couple of times, the sole started peeling off again on both the shoes, the insole gave away.. And finally last month, after a faithful service of 6 years, my old sneakers finally threw in the towel. I now wear my other pair of Lottos, but as a sign of comradeship I don’t keep them in the same rack where my good old nikes rest in peace.


zak said...

buddy, you should send this post to Nike Inc. They will put it in their hall of fame.

Hows life?

Sanjay said...

Life's good, Thanks Zak miyan.. I wonder Nike would be too enthused to hear about someone wearing their cheapest product (on top of that bought from a discount store) and don't upgrade six years.. Bad idea for their business =)

Nileblitz said...

Dude, I really liked your blog posts. Especially your links and blogs section. I also liked your photoblog.

Do check out mine and let me know what you think.


Sanjay said...

Thanks Nilesh =) Will check out your blog.