The old cobbler

Recently receiving a particular WhatsApp message from number of sources. It is being portrayed that doctors wish that people get affected by disease, lawyers wish people get entangled in number of untoward incidents, cobblers wish footwear of people get defective etc.
Now there would be no scarcity of people defending the doctors, lawyers and other “white-collared” professionals of glamorous vintage! But who will defend the cobbler? So I desire to take the cudgel on behalf of the neglected marginalised cobbler.
It was early morning and I was walking briskly towards home from the market with bags of vegetables. Suddenly the strap of my leather slipper got snapped. Now either I have to continue walking barefoot or avail a rickshaw. As no rickshaw was in sight, I noticed a very old cobbler, sitting beside the road, repairing a lady’s slipper. As she was paying him after the job was over, the old cobbler mumbled something to her. Neither could I gather what he said nor was I interested in it also. Now he started repairing my slipper and after completion asked a nominal charge for it without taking unfair advantage of my predicament.
As soon as I paid the amount, the cobbler again mumbled something that I could not decipher. When asked to repeat, I gathered with much difficulty (can’t speak clearly due to his advanced age) that he is advising me what to do if my leather slippers get wet so that it do not get weak or torn! Then I realised that he was offering this very advice to that lady also! Now this vulnerable person is engaged as a cobbler braving heat, sun and roadside dust under open sky day in and day out, from dawn to dusk. His kitchen runs only if our footwear gets defective. And here this poor senior citizen is advising his customers how to take good care of their slippers so that it remain fit and fine!
What a contrast to the multi-billionaire companies offering false promises or engaged in heartless advertisements like “Your home is your identity” or “A man gets judged by the clothes he wear” so as to reap economic dividends by hook or by crook! Thanks to this ‘illiterate’ teacher literally on the road, I have got enlightened.
KAJAL CHATTERJEE
Kolkata, India

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