Mehak came to Mumbai a few years ago to pursue her design degree and went on to work here as well. That’s where we met, hit it off and stayed connected since. Although she now lives in Chandigarh, she never really left this city and her romance with Mumbai continues. Needless to say I was delighted when she said she has a story for MumbaiMag.com - Garima
I doubt there’s anyone, man or woman, who doesn’t like shoes. While some hoard countless pairs and some spend all their savings on that special pair, shoes are essential. And if you’re in Bombay, as important as a sturdy umbrella to swat the evil wrath of the monsoon.
I moved to Bombay in 2005 to pursue a degree in design. I meticulously packed my favourite pair of Punjabi jutties amongst 15 colourful flip-flops from Sarojini Nagar (a pair used to cost Rs 25 back then). One day I decided to get into Punjabi mode and went all out with my full-Patiala salwar-kameez and as I took out my jutties I screamed and nearly hit my roommate with them. There they were covered so badly in fungus that you couldn’t tell what their actual colour was.
I called Ma, told her about the green horrors that now sat in the hostel’s balcony and she laughed and told me to wipe them clean. Was she kidding me? Touch? THAT? No way. I asked the cleaning lady to take them as far away from me as possible. Over the years (and about 5 leather and suede pair of shoes later) I learnt that wiping your shoes clean of fungus or muck is the only way you can own any shoes at all in Bombay.
While there are people who love all that Bombay rains entail, I get sick of them within a week of downpour. So when I started working after college, I was so glad to have found a shoe lover/rain hater in Garima. In fact, on my first day of work, she bought a gorgeous pair of silver flats and these were purchased while she’d gone to the mall across the road for a meeting. I knew instantly that G and I would get along.
Many work meetings would turn into animated chats about shoes and where and when sales would be on. Plus living with a shoe-obsessed friend did absolutely nothing for my savings. And to top it all, I lived in Bandra – the epicentre of all kinds of shopping. So whether it was a 2grand+ pair or one under Rs 200, I bought an unfair amount of shoes. My shoe rack was ALWAYS stacked thrice as much as it should have been. And now that I had learnt to maintain shoes despite the moist whether, life was shoe-perb!
Here’s the trick. When the rain Gods start descending, which I’m suspecting might happen in another couple of weeks in Mumbai, take some coconut oil and a 2” wide flat brush or roll up an old sock. Wipe your shoes with a dry cloth, dunk the brush in a bit of the oil and coat your leather shoes with a thin layer of it. Be careful, as leather tends to change colour if you put too much oil on it. This can salvage most shoes (and even furniture).
Suede, on the other hand, you MUST avoid unless you hop out of your apartment straight into a car and then into your workplace. But there’s no escaping a splash or two so let the poor soles be.
If you do have a mucky situation at hand in the form of shoes or bags, turn your hide into a shoe laundry. These divine places can literally resurrect your shoes, bags or jackets.
There are many of these all across the city and it’s to find the one closest to where you live. So next time a buckle breaks, the material gets stained or the zip on those sexy stilettos gets spoilt, fear not, you can salvage almost any shoe! And remember, you can never have enough shoes. Ever. *Ignore Mom’s nagging voice in your head*.
P.S. I know of some great shoe shops pretty much all across the city. Show some love with comments and I’ll tell you where you can grab a pair (or 10).
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