- His conditions.
- His clothes.
- His implements.
- His open-air shop.
- His method of doing work and nature.
- Remains poor as before.
- I had a talk with him.
There is a cobbler who sits at the corner of our street. He is old and poor. I have been seeing him working at the same place for the last many years. But there is no change in his condition. He has grown neither richer nor poorer. He put on coarse half-torn dhoti and shirt. Formerly he used to put on a turban, but now he puts on a rag-life shapeless cap on his head. He possesses aged-old out-of-date implements. There is an implement to cut leather. Another implement is meant for punching holes. There is a big needle to repair the shoes.
Besides these he possesses one or two pieces of worn-out shoes and a few secondhand pieces of leather. A brush, a piece of cloth a small box of polish are his other valuable possessions. Generally, he sits in the open. But during summer and monsoon, he puts a kind of small cloth-shade over him to protect his head. All his materials lie near him.
He attends his open-air shop from eight o’clock in the morning and leaves it at noon. After lunch, he again attends his shop till night. He renders valuable services to many of his customers. Repairing of shoes and chappals are his main functions. He also polishes the footwear.
His charges are very reasonable, and his work is highly satisfactory. But he is very slow in work. Sometimes when I want urgent repairs, he asks me to wait; and when I am unable to wait I have to go away without getting my shoes repaired.
He is sincere in his work, but his nature is irritable. It is because of his nature that he often loses good customers. When all people have earned during the last war, fortune has not cared to smile on this poor cobbler. He has increased his charges, but they hardly cover his expenses. His clothes have remained the same, and his open-air shop has the same age-old appearance. Once when he was leisurely repairing my shoes he went on talking with me about his family affairs. He said that though he was poor; he was not worried about money. He stayed in a dark dingy room, but he was contented with his lot. All that worried him was his son’s conduct because neither studied nor joined service.
After this conversation, our relations have become more cordial. I often give him some work or another. At times when he is short of money, I give him a rupee or two, which he returns very soon. This cobbler is a gods-fearing, honest and sincere man. He has his little joys and sorrows. But I have always found him doing his work with pleasure. He represents the lower strata of the suffering of humanity.