10 September 2013


Sandeep rung up to Sumitra bhabi the other day “Bhabi jee what is the size of my brother’s-, I mean his shoe size."  
Bibek prompted Smitra to inform Sandeep that the size was seven for comfortable wear and tear. He started brooding, whether the shoe size has something to do with ones manliness.  
Bibek’s son Rajesh too inquired the same –“Mama what is shoe size of Baba." “Seven” was her reply. He left for Dubai the next day.
Bibek was waiting in vain for the courier boy to arrive but he had no other option but  to wear the worn out Reebok pair of shoes  presented by his in-law at Mumbai, when his shoes were stolen away in the train while in sleep, a few years back. A pedometer would have shown how many miles it had actually covered by now so that he could discard it. One pair of Nike shoes were left behind in his previous working place at Tezpur. Another pair was bought from Sorojini market during his nephew’s marriage at Delhi, which too was doing a fine job even though it cost him only Rs.251 but frequent rains water seepage resulted one sole coming off in the middle of the road. Bibek had visited Bata workshop (Franchise) in Agra while being a selector for UP, the price was 60% off but that was some decades back. That reminded him of a pair of Bata Canvass shoe which he had during his college days .He was opening the bowling against Calcutta University when midway of an over the sole split into two. A second pair could not be arranged and the match was over for the day by the time the shoe returned after its repair.

While studying in school in nineteen fifty-three his father announced that he would buy a pair of shoes for Bibek if he comes first in the class, he did. Father and son walked to the only one Bata shoe store at Baripada.
"Show a shoe for him." father had asked the sales man.
It fitted Bibek well."How much does the pair cost” asked Bibek’s father.
"Twelve rupees, sir".  ‘Thank you,’ father said. He muttered “My father has no shoes, mine cost only ten and yours will cost such a hefty sum? No way”
As the shoes were not bought, Bibek cried aloud and with empty bag without vegetables which he normally carried every evening, came home with tears rolling down and reached home to tell the story to his mother. At night soon after a sobbing Bibek went to bed, one could hear a lot of commotions as his parents were in serious conflict. “Only cute little son, still then why no shoes were purchased. How miserly you could be?” was the question raised by his mother. Bibek continued to walk barefoot as he refused to wear a BSC canvas shoe.

Some years passed by, Bibek bought a buck skin cricket shoes from Cantonment road of Cuttack in 1959 with black boy studs made in GB. To protect the costly pair he was bowling carefully lest the sole should give way. But once he forgot about that and the studs had provided him an anchoring effect, his bowling speed increased and was considered as one of the fastest bowler of east zone during that time. That pair cost him Rs24/- saw him through for three seasons. Those were the hardship days for sports lovers and its participants, no sponsors; its 3rd class cattle class travel one can put it, only love for the game was the motivating force.

Bibek is a determined and full of fighting quality; says-- that is the characteristic of a Capricornia. He was annoyed with his brother for his frequent comments, son’s careless attitude and cutting jokes about the worn out shoes. The fall and rise are part of his life-so he was controlling his anger, when the door bell rang---
“Who is there?”
Courier service-‘A parcel for you sir’

Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy

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