Miniature footware is his passion

Miniature footware is his passion

The miniature footwear on display at Ravikumar’s petty shop. Photos/Author

Twenty five year old Ravi Kumar hailing from Davangere who is in Mangalore since 15 years, is learning and practicing the cobbler trade in the busy street side of Milagres junction  beside the entrance of Wenlock Hospital from last five years. In his little platform with just an old plastic sheet to shelter him from sun and rain, Ravi Kumar works with all passion. Indeed, he is an extraordinary person from many perspectives. He just loved Mangalore the first time he set eyes on it. In spite of the changes, he loves to be here and the people are ‘decent,’ he says.

He is an unusually attentive young man repairing foot-wear and often troubled hearts in the city. What attract people to his stall are hand crafted tiny miniature sandals, shoes and moccasins - scaled down proportionately by using waste materials. Many a times, curious onlookers stop to admire him just like the way I did as it provides a pleasant sight for us to see him work. A ready smile is always on Ravi’s face - and his words are of a great depth. His acceptance of day-to-day difficulties and his philosophical flow of thought that bring across a certain solace give his words a scholarly ring and soothes the ears of those who stop near the shop to receive his services or to admire his miniature footwear. And he readily serves his fellow beings!

Gradually I came to know that this 25 year-old had a difficult life to face day after day. He lives with his wife since a year in Talapady just in Karnataka-Kerala border, since he could not afford a shelter nearby. It takes him at least two and half hours a day to commute. He says on an average he would earn Rs 150 a day and occasionally he earns Rs 200. He can save nothing and is invariably in debt. His family bonds are very remote, he says. He has hardly been able to give his mother anything since his father’s death 15 years ago. His marriage was an arranged one, though he would have liked a love marriage, he says. 

Ravi Kumar proudly says that many tourists have taken his pictures (like the ones you see here). Usually he sits for trade from 8 am to 8 pm and takes holiday on Sundays. “It is very difficult to sit without shelter under scorching sun and during the rainy season. I neither own a home or kiosk nor have a ration card since I possess no proper address,” he laments.

He points to the church, mosque or heaven ward and convincingly states he is sure that all these years ‘god’ has been with him and he goes on from one trial to another and gets-by! Faith begins where man’s power ends. What can the powerful and rich do to uplift such humans on the roadside is a question for the soul!