Oh, no, don’t get me wrong. I am not going to write about hurling shoes and other forms of marital abuse using shoes. Their original name is “Jut(t)i” – a noun with feminine gender. It is a traditionally designed footwear made from leather and embroidered with silk and zari – that is, if you are looking at the premium segment. Even this ‘premium’ segment items cost something like Rs. 700 per pair. Once I had half the shop taken out before me to try on, I did not even haggle. If one could pay anywhere upwards of a thousand and a half for so-called branded shoes, why not encourage this desi product and hope it gets geo-tagged in future?
But well, this blog is not about selling those Jutis. It is about one thing that the shop-keeper told me, which at once reminded me of Indian marriage and I found his words very profound.
When I was trying the Jutis on, I asked which one was the right and which one was left.
The shopkeeper said, “Madam, both are equal and cut the same way. Right and left is shaped once you start wearing them. Wear it consistently and your feet will shape them into one for the right and one for the left foot.”
As soon as I heard this, I sort of knew what an out-of-body experience was. You see your body doing something while you are elsewhere. In this instance, I proceeded to conclude the purchase, take the bill, ask directions to my hotel and walk on.
The real me was thinking of the Indian marriage where the partners are put together by an arrangement and they start living together. Just like starting to wear jutis, it is the living together in an arranged Indian marriage that shapes each partner, orienting them to take on role identities and ushering them into functioning as parts each complimenting the other and completing the pair. If the wearer has the sizes of the two feet slightly different (which happens with many people), you don’t throw away the pair, but you find a small piece of padding of material handy to you, and plug it into the gap. if one is slightly tighter, you continue to pull the tight one until its leather stretches and wraps itself comfortably around the foot.
The only case when your foot gets sores is when the adjustment is missing. The wearer knows where it pinches and it is the wearer who has to make the adjustment. Adjustment. The thing that alleviates the Amritsari Jutis to a lesson that helps understand the Indian marriage.