Vanishing acts, these

The case of the mismatched pair of socks

Nothing happens as fast and as often as the umbrella’s disappearance, particularly on a rainy day. Not really, for slippers disappear just as fast, if not faster, especially at music performances, weddings and so on.

But before that, here is another tale: of socks losing their pairs. Once, my husband and my brother had been to each other’s house at Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru — well, perhaps not at the same time. When they returned home, they were seen wearing one sock of theirs and one of the pair belonging to the other, until the wife on each side had a good laugh on discovering the mistake. And the husbands continued to wear them that way, saying, “Not to worry. Let it become a fashion trend.” I see many youngsters these days wearing mismatched socks, but as the saying goes, ‘Who cares?’ 

But chappals are a different matter. I never wear good ones to the temple, even when there is bandobast with a token system and storage space. There are clever people who decide which pair to take. The good ones are gone and you are free to take the bad ones in exchange.

Once, my husband and I were at a function featuring a well-known swamiji, and the crowd was huge. I wondered whether to risk leaving my elegant chappals before going in and peep into what was going on inside the hall. My husband was one up on me. “Look here, I will look after your footwear, leave them behind — you know I don’t like crowds.”

How nice of him to have anticipated my wish, I thought, carelessly shaking off my chappals and running in. And guess what, right from under his nose, someone walked away with my chappals — and my husband didn’t know how. He knew how crestfallen I would be and the excuses he would have to make.

Yes, I was truly sorry to lose that pair, but he did not anticipate that I would rush to the nearest good-looking pair of chappals I could lay my hands on­ — sorry, sorry — my feet could lay my feet on — and drag him away from the scene. That was perhaps my fastest run in, and for, my life. Did I tell you about the dash I made into the sea once, not knowing swimming (in deep waters especially)? It was all for what was termed the silliest reason possible by all who know me well.

Let me give you a recap. I had a beautiful pair of rubber chappals, pink in colour, bought in Bangkok. My granddaughter wore it to the beach and in one swift surge of a wave, she managed to save one slipper, but the other went out of sight and out of everyone else’s mind, too, but not out of my mind. I swore to retrieve it somehow, but not knowing how. In despair, I walked alongside the water for maybe a furlong. Lo and behold! I saw the missing pink slipper in that rough angry sea. Without a thought, I ran in while people warned me about the rough sea. But God was great that day, he brought that slipper close to the shore as if he understood my wish to get it back without harming myself. Everyone remembers how quickly and happily I ran back to the other slipper that day.

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Vanishing acts, these

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