A shoe story

 Journomuse aka Deepthy Menon is my young blogger friend who blogs at Word Sketches. I had become a follower and friend when I got hooked to her lovely photo essays on the English countryside. She blogs about a host of other things too, the latest one on Mumbai being one of my favourites. Her unique point of view, which is neither radical nor conservative is a delight to read. A typical Gen Y woman, she is smart, intelligent and knows her mind. So when I wanted a guest post from her, I had her job cut out – a reaction piece to the recent Feminism series – as a representative of Gen Y. Incidentally, she calls herself the third Brat!

 In this guest post Deepthy  uses the analogy of shoes to illustrate the life and times of two generations of women – her mother’s and hers. Read on….  

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As I write this, there is a viral message doing the rounds on Facebook that says ‘Gone are the days when girls cooked like their Mothers; today they  drink  like their Fathers’…A witty and tongue-in-cheek e-poster that has garnered about 40 Likes on my friend’s profile page and about 47 witty comments, within a few hours of posting. Most of them veer from LoLs to ROFLMAOs ( If you don’t know what the terms mean, perhaps you are not of my generation or the ones after mine). But a few others were comments like ‘Yeah, it is high time!’ and ‘Well, why stop at drinking, our fathers had a lot more fun than that, let’s do all that and more’.

A decade ago, these comments would have been considered outrageous. In fact, even now many limit such comments to the rather empowering medium of online communication, where a stand taken does not have to necessarily be backed by physical endorsement.  Such comments often set me thinking about how we circumscribe our own lives and define our roles – the different hats we juggle expertly as women. As an expression, donning different hats is a great one, but when I think about roles we take up in life, I feel ‘wearing different shoes’ is actually a better analogy.

Let me tell you why because the rest of this piece might reflect on the shoes in my wardrobe and those in my mother’s, then and now.

Before I proceed further, I want to share this poem, which I read in my III or IV standard,  that went something like this:

New Shoes, new shoes,

Red and Pink and Blue Shoes,

Tell me what would you choose,

If they’d let us buy.

 

Buckle shoes, bow shoes,

Pretty pointy toe shoes,

Strappy, _____ low shoes,

Let’s have some to try.

I have forgotten the word before low shoes and I know there were a couple more stanzas, but these two stanzas have stuck in my head all these years. This poem is as dear as my ever-growing collection of shoes. I often chuckle when I catch myself humming it as check out rows upon rows of shoes in various shoe-shops across the world. Each pair that I own is worn after careful thought, not merely to keep me feet from getting muddy, but because it is an extension of my personality, a reflection of my mood, an assertion of my quirkiness and by virtue — my individuality.

By contrast, my mother was a Bata woman. Her footwear was sensible, lasted a long time and the single pair in black that she owned ensured it matched with most of her sarees. I don’t remember her owning more than one pair till very late in her life. And that too, I guess, because both her daughters are shoe-maniacs — we collect shoes the way people would pick up flyers or free brochures at an exhibition.

So it is thanks to us that the young woman in her got a new lease of shoe-life and now she has four pairs. The style is about the same but she does experiment with the straps. The colours are her usual black, a pretty silver, a daring purple and a rebellious red. She always wore sarees – practical, easy to wash synthetic ones for work and starched, lovingly cared for cottons for days off work. She carried the same handbag to work till its strap broke and a couple of times I have espied a strategic safety pin hiding a tear. Today she has more bags than she has ever owned in all the two decades and more that she worked. This is also thanks to us, her girls as we shower her with more things than she can use. She protests, but I know she loves them — these were the luxuries she never had while she was young.

Amma began working when she was barely twenty two. Like a responsible daughter, she stepped into her father’s job when he was close to retirement. She always knew she had responsibilities, it was a joint family and the income was important. For her, the job was her willingness to contribute. Education till graduation was never a struggle for women in Kerala, especially among the working classes. Most women completed their pre-degree and then moved on to do their degrees as a matter of course. Post graduation and higher studies thereafter were not the rule but the exceptions. Those who went on to do them were either those that had skewed horoscopes which were difficult to match with eligible boys in the family’s reckoning or were so clever that they had received scholarships to study further.

Amma and I are poles apart, not just in footwear and handbags but also in the way we have conducted our lives. For the life of me, I cannot imagine marrying a man I have hardly spoken to or with whom I didn’t feel a strong connect. The life of her generation is pretty known to me as I used to coax her to tell me about her growing years. Initially she had little to say, but then soon I didn’t have to ask her…colourful stories, gossip and tales of those days flowed and the stories never bored me.

I have often asked her, ‘How were you ready to take such a risk with Dad? I mean how did you know he was not a city-slick, slimy man who just took a fancy to the quiet one he met? How did you find the confidence to agree to marry him?’

Amma always laughed and put me off with ‘I was lucky,’ but one rare day she said. ‘It wasn’t as if I had much of a choice.’

Dad, a distant cousin on her grandmother’s side — had come to renew relations with his dad’s extended family after his death. She loves to recount how she had barely talked to him, there were just three occasions when he even saw her. Her cousin, the loquacious one – considered more intelligent and smarter than her — had been the one who had monopolized the conversations with dad even on those occasions. So when the dashing young man wrote a long letter to my grandfather asking for my mom’s hand, it was not only seen as being forward, but a major shock because she was the one who had caught his eye and not her extrovert cousin.

Amma was told to consider herself lucky that he had noticed her and asked for her hand . There was not much gold that her father had to give all of his four daughters. His salary as an officer at a local bank stretched only enough to give them all an education. Amma used to say that the lack of money kept her large family united and there was little to bicker over and even the little was stretched to make it enough. As a result, few of the girls in her family had the liberty to say no. More importantly, they never knew they could say no. It was believed that the family knew what was best for them.

‘It wasn’t like we grew up with major expectations nor did we think that things in films happened in real life,’ she says. The story of their marriage still makes me go Awwww…. In retrospect, I think dad’s proposal was dashing; she never sought romance but she got it, in heaps. My parents have been together for over thirty-four years now.

My sister and I on the contrary, are as particular about our men as we are about the shoes we like. The spouse section in our applications are still blank. She is 28 and I am 33. By my sister’s age, Amma had not only had me, I was three years old! By my age, her younger one was starting kindergarten.

Priorities have changed, parental pressure seems bearable to having to settle for an incompatible marriage and NO is a big word in our lexicon. Our notions of feminism are more individualistic. Our visions of the future do encompass men and children but not at the cost of sacrificing our individual dreams and goals. Careers are equally, if not more important. The search for an ‘understanding partner’ (read pre-adjusted) is on.

No one has the patience to use ‘pillow talk’ — supposedly the most effective tool the wife had over the mother-in-law — to mould our husbands’ opinions on the direction our lives must take. We meet them eye-to-eye since deferring to them as Amma’s generation had done, at least in public, feels like an outdated notion. Presenting a united front as parents before the kids is a desirable one, but wanting the kids to know that their mother has a personality and opinions of her own, is equally mandatory.

Perhaps, my generation has become too individualistic and consequently, we feel the need to fight every inch to have things our way. We choose our shoes – the styles and the colours. Nothing staid, nothing risqué. Perhaps I overgeneralise!

PS: For now, I must say, I’m no cook like my mother and I enjoy a drink or two occasionally like my father. But I’m not metamorphosing into a man like dad.

 

Image courtesy: indyeahforever.wordpress.com

80 comments

  1. Such a beautiful post! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Yes, times have indeed changed. We now have the freedom of saying ‘No’, which our mothers probably didn’t have. I am glad for that. We still have a long way to go, too.

    Loved the story of your parents’ marriage. It is so very cute. 🙂

    I could see my mom in the way you described your mom. She, too, has always sacrificed her personal interests, willingly, for her family – her parents initially, then for dad and his family, and now she is willing to do anything for me. It is high time I got her that moisturiser and necklace that she would love to wear, though I know she would never buy it for herself.

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    1. And we talk on Cyber Nag’s blog also….:) Yes, yes, yes, you must get your mom that necklace and moisturiser she wont buy herself..:) Parents complain, fuzz and crib about the way we spend money without a care about saving it for a rainy day. As an extension, they will also protest profusely when you try to splurge on them. But deep deep down in their heart, the little child still within their hearts will love your gesture and your insistence that she must have them..:) So go ahead and indulge her!!

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  2. haha this is a nice one! My mom also always buys her shoes from bata, and wears them for years to come. Cooks wonderrrrfullyyy, and never drinks. I am the reverse, buy them from everywhere and yes I do drink occassionally 🙂
    I agree with so many points here. I am so much like you Deepthy!

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    1. High Five Jenny!! It is so wonderful to hear echoes of my experience from others like you…:) Mom and Aunty Nag’s generation is special indeed, but we are not bad ourselves, are we now? 😀

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  3. Lovely post. Loved how you ended it the best!!

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    1. Thanks IHM…:) Just said it as I see it..kind of preaching what is practised..:)

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  4. Congratulations on a very balanced post. You’ve brought out the characteristics of both generations quite nicely. Loved the shoe analogy!

    I have to confess I usually own just one or two pairs of shoes. But then I’m a Gen X woman! 🙂

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    1. 🙂 I’m glad the analogy brought a smile to your face, Gen X Woman, Manju..:) I think all of you are so similar in many ways and unique in others..In fact, that’s the charm of your generation. You learnt to get a lot of things done through diplomacy. We are merely pushing that envelope forward a tad bit more..:)

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  5. The shoe metaphor is awesome and you can’t miss how well, it symbolically represents the fight/struggle of each generation. I guess the first fight is to be able to walk freely. At that point, no one cares about shoes/slippers/sandals anything, all they want to do is walk and the next steps is protect your feet as you walk. Once you have established your right to walk and protect your feet, comes the fight to get different pair of shoes & sandals to go with different outfits right? So simple but so beautifully represents the struggles of each generation… Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. I think your thoughts have just beautifully embellished what I have tried to say through the post. I couldn’t thank you more for how you so beautifully contextualised it. 🙂 A-Kay, thank you! 🙂

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      1. I was waiting for your reply before I commented. I thought that A-kay has got the essence in those few lines, hasn’t she? I am falling in love with this lovely generation all over again. 😀

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        1. 🙂 We aren’t all that bad, are we now Aunty Nag, we love our horns, but then there are angel wings too that we keep hidden..;)

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          1. We do love our wings as much as we love our horns, don’t we, Journomuse? 🙂

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          2. Hahaha..true..I regularly wax my wings and file the horns..;)

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    2. A-Kay, you are one intelligent reader. Am I glad you come to my blog and leave your comments 🙂

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      1. Can I pipe in here and say, A-kay, come over to mine too…and I’d love to hear what you have to say! 🙂

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        1. Thank you Zee and I am overwhelmed hearing this from you!

          Journomuse, I will certainly stop by your space as well.

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          1. Cheers A-kay! So many more angels and horn-stories to be shared..;)

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  6. Hmmm, Journomuse–strangely in my house it is just the opposite. My mom was and is picky about her shoes and her shoes and her feet are one of the first things you note on her and something that I have always adored in her. On the other hand, I am a “Bata” girl–I like shoes that are sturdy and practical and the only time I wear expensive shoes are for fundraising meetings:) She was alos pikcy about her husband–she announced she would only marry a man who had no horoscope and no parents. My dad was fortunate enough to have neither:)
    But I agree that we are way more individualistic and may I also add, impatient, with things…So much to learn and unlearn, journomuse–thanks for this post!

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    1. Wow, that sounds like quite a mom that you have there..:) Very different from her league, isn’t she? Sometimes I think back and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the person I am today if my Amma was any different. Thanks for sharing your story, Bhavana…Brought a smile to my face..:)

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  7. G.N. Balakrishnan · · Reply

    An excellent article, trying to bridge the generation gap to a great extent. Also a very frank appraisal of the thinking, mindset and behaviour of the two generations. You have very truthfully stated that the present generation is individualistic. Belonging to the older generation, I feel that the present travails of men and women around us to-day is because of the excessive importance one gives to individualism. Pardon me, if I am wrong in saying that, we were brought up in an atmosphere of more rigid disciipline and frugality, when the means were limited to meet the much nobler ends of rearing up a host of children in a joint family, where every one has to make compromises and sacrifices to enlarge the scope of total happiness of the whole family, than that of the individual. I do not hesitate to put the blame for the present malaise, at the doors of our apeing the western culture,eschewing our ancient Indian culture and also partly due to the present IT culture, which is wreaking havoc to family lives of individuals. After all money is not the be all and end all of human existence and in our quest to acquire more and more of materialistic acquisitions, one loses sight of the very purpose of human existence. A more balanced approach to the problems facing us will reveal that human values are of far greater significance than mere materialistic comforts. I know, most of the present Generation Y an Z will not agree with me. But, I am boldly putting forth before you a proposition,to live a much fuller life, encompassing all our dear relations, where relationship is more potent in bringing mental peace and happiness than the void of materialistic pursuits. We speak so much of HR and PR and dot seem to follow even a single letter of that noble science. Gen Y may pardon me, if I have said anything unpalatable or wrong in the above dissertation of mine. I am not invading into one’s privacy, but only cautioning against anything done in excess, especially individualism in particular.

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    1. I agree with you completely, in fact, I have hardly any point of dissonance. Amma’s was a large joint family too, with few means of money coming in, number of mouths to feed and more massive avenues for money to be spent! She says that because the means were limited, the fight for the limited resources was also amicable. In fact, her family of over 100 members, uncles, aunts, their generations are still as tightly bound and every trip I make home, I make it a point to go and meet all of them. In this piece, while I did raise the points where generations differ, I guess there wasn’t scope to mention where we are on the same page too. We don’t try to do everything our parents did differently. Why try to improve on perfection? 🙂

      Thank you so much for the perspective, in fact, I’d say a lot of what you said will fall into the aspirational category – of what our generation would idealistically want to achieve too. I would love to speak for all in my generation, (but if not all, at least those with their head fixed right) we believe the wisdom that our parents and grand parents have is far more important than anything the wikipedia or internet gives us.

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  8. Belonging to the Gen Y category, I could totally relate with your views… standing up for oneself and not getting crushed under the boulders of inequalities and could actually see my mom in yours, who also believes in keeping things down to her minimum requirements! Such a sweet post, Deepthy.. I loved reading every word of it 🙂

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    1. Yayyy, Im so glad there are more Gen Y’s expressing solidarity with me….and I’m sure you will bear me out on some of the comments where I unilaterally decided I was the spokesperson for our generation..:) Thanks a lot Arti!

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  9. First of all thankyou for such a lovely article and thank you for not doing the man bashing which has become quite a norm these days.
    Then and now are tow different places.. I dare not say no myself to my dad, I was expected to do what he did, it was not easy to go against him heck I cud not dare to, not just me but other buys too had the same story. I am sure if you ask your dad he will say the same.
    I think people forget that it was same for boys too maynot be as much as a girl or let me say boys got away lightly that was all.
    Then and today a lot has Changed thought process has changed..

    People were more happy then inspire of all the problems. We as a family had more fun then I do now.

    I still sometimes think we were better off then .. now there is too much .. anyone and everyone who can get away with something wrong will get away with it.

    The amount of feminism and man bashing that goes on soon a day will come when people wud not want man-woman relations…

    I guess I have completely in a tangent here I was thinking something else it has come out differently…

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    1. I’m glad this post got you thinking about the thens and the nows…I understand what you are saying but I’m not sure if I go as far as thinking men-bashing and women-hating will lead to a situation where men and women won’t want to be together…We crib and complain about a lot of things in life, but were they not to be there, well, life wouldn’t be the same ever. 🙂 I agree boys have the burden of expectation and doing good, just as girls have to bear the cross of being the good ambassadors of their family’s name and do the right thing by the family…However, I think cribs and complaints and bashing only comes in when you want to plug an inadequacy within by looking for reasons outside you to blame. Someone earlier had mentioned about finding your own equilibrium within you. Once you attain that, you end up happier and spreading it to your family and friends..That’s my destination…:)

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  10. My mother is a Bata woman too and even today refuses to have more than one pair of chappals at any given time. The stubborn argument always given is: I don’t need more than one. It’s a philosophy that I have just started understanding. Maybe, I’m growing older; maybe it is something else.

    Very nice post, Deepthy. One that very quietly stay in the back of my mind for some time to come.

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    1. I’m so glad you liked it..what I’m happier about is every person who wrote back to me identified with the post at some level or the other. That humbles me. Ultimately whatever part of the world we come from, however we were brought up, some things are eternal…like the bond a mother and child share…things that they learn…its never about just the material things is it? Its more about values and the intrinsic sense of self-worth and identity that we grow up with.

      I feared whether I sold my generation short by making them appear more materialistic and the kind that always wants to splurge – but I’m glad I didn’t sound all that shallow. We grew up to different music and perhaps different textbooks..but the love and the basic lessons have been passed on right..and I’m sure those will go down to the next generation also pretty much the same way.. 🙂

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  11. My dear Deepthy,

    If only because of your liking for shoes and your mother getting by with what she wore,
    we now know more about your mother and father and family — and you!!

    I wish you keep finding excuses (and keep getting invitations from Cybernag)
    to write about the hidden world of your parents — a world that’s vanishing.

    Soon the lives of our middle-class parents will be one with the dinosaurs.
    (Except that we shall always have the poor and the malnourished and
    the farmer suicides with us, thanks to Manmohan & Co.)

    As always, I love your easy style. Though you must learn to write about your mother
    in the present tense, since the wonderful woman is still with us.

    Married or not, and getting past 33, you make me proud, my dear Deepthy, to count you as one of the rarest few among my most sincere and honest students. Be the good girl you can be.

    I wish you a great future as a professional writer and I hope you get the break you deserve.
    I await that day with great anticipation and hope.

    Peace and love,
    – Joe.

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    1. Joe ( Yes all, he’s my teacher, but I have always called him that, he likes it that way too over the formal Sir)

      Joe – started with that so people know I’m not a disrespectful, impolite brat! but as always, hand on my heart, your words of encouragement always makes me want to do better. Point noted, about the past tense. I guess I just adopted it as a style to make the memories in sepia more vivid and appear even more distant..:)

      PS: Dad believes he has received fewer loving brushstrokes as compared to Amma in this piece. So wait for Daddy’s girl to respond to that…:)

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  12. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, belan-wali editorsahiba…I didn’t see it and I wrote it!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. 😆

      Happens to even the best of us! 😉

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      1. Thanks for the bailout! 🙂 PS: Was it for me or the belanwali? 😉

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    2. I bet we are all sounding like characters from a syrupy Sooraj Barjatya film 😀 😀

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      1. and why not? It’s a very ‘family-oriented’ blog, after all! 😉 a-la Hum Saath Saath Hain?? 😉 I’m all for drama, trauma and meri ma!

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        1. U me aur Hum… drama, trauma and meri ma! 🙄 :mrgreen:

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  13. Very well written… enjoyed reading it 🙂
    Loved reading about your mother’s life. There’s so much charm in even the little things in those days. That’s something I miss the more I grow up….

    I’d like to make one little correction though:
    I think the statement is not “Gone are the days when girls cooked like their Mothers and drank like their Fathers’
    It’s more like “Gone are the days when girls cooked like their Mothers. Today they drink like their fathers.” Something to that effect right?

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    1. Bang on, Ashwathy!! (Facepalm) I believe I’m turning into a complete scatterbrain…Geez, super embarrassed! 🙂

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    2. Hey thanks Undakanni, corrected it. This is what happens when one publishes a post when one has a bad migraine 😦

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  14. jyothi · · Reply

    lovely article deeps….remembered my mom…..as for me, from a shoe loving and bag crazy girl, ive turned exactly into a bata woman…motherhood’s catching up with me i guess….now its a comfortable bata chappals and a sturdy bag which can carry everything from diapers to my wallet( a man wallet that too!!:) still not in sari though! i dont think i can run behind the kids and still manage to look feminine…i would look more like a spider creating a web!!! hahahhaa……so its jeans and kurta for me…..maybe i’ll get the zing back when i turn grandmother:) hehehe…..

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    1. Hmmm…now that you say that Jo, I think then it is a natural progression. The parent in you makes you give up the extra perks for comfort and there is also the need to be on your toes. Can’t imagine you handling those two brats of yours in heels…:) Your comment reminded me of a typically Amma line…Amma has this habit of subtly maro-ing her lines…No drama, no flourish, but you can be sure no one will miss the punch – so one day, sis and I were sitting and painting our nails and I teased Amma saying do you want some ‘Cutex’ too…to which she looked at me and says ‘Well I went through your age before I got here. You think I was born as your boring Amma? I have also kept long nails and had CUTEX on it…:) Need I say meri bolti-bandh!

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  15. My vote is for Bata woman. (Perhaps it reflects my age.) There was not much expectation. She got romance which did not expect-consumer surplus! If she had not got, no real loss because she did not expect much.
    Suppose we choose our shoes after talking, adjusting the ‘wave length’. And unfortunately the shoes do not match. Apart from the disappointment we do not have anyone-system/culture- to blame. Also everyone cannot have 4 pairs.
    Am I extrapolating too far?

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    1. You are definitely not extrapolating too far! In fact, it must be a generational argument. My dad has tried to use the same argument on me for years….It’s not about real loss, but I guess when you haven’t taken the plunge, it is more about the ‘perceived’ loss. What we, the new generation has taken out of the mix, I guess, is the freedom to crib to our parents when things that we did go wrong. I am not saying there aren’t those who don’t go, make their messes and then cry to the parents, but the right/freedom and expectation that you can run to your parents if your choices go awry.

      Hmmm..but the everyone cannot have four pairs is a big slap…:) it isn’t like this generation is without scruples or ideals. We are just less rigid and perhaps less inclined to suffer silently. But remember, we were brought up by the strong Bata men and women. It’s unfair to think they wouldn’t have passed on their values and ideals to us too…:)

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      1. That reply certainly comes from one of the balanced ones of this generation and as rightly pointed out, the values have been passed on by the strong and balanced Bata men and women 🙂

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      2. ‘everyone cannot have four pairs’ perhaps is offensive. I did not realise when I wrote. I regret.

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        1. I’m really glad you saw the point I was trying to make. 🙂

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  16. A fine post! and Bata is just near my street corner. Buying Bata all the time!

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    1. I’m thinking I must take some money from Bata for all the endorsements I have earned for them in a time where Bata stores are losing customers left, right and centre! That said, more power to the Bata women..:)

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  17. AlkaGurha · · Reply

    It is the thought behind this post which makes it special. I have a special shoe connection with my mom too. Loved the way you have juxtaposed the starting with the end.

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    1. Thank you Alka…:) I guess that’s why mom-daughter relationships are so special in life..:)

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  18. Yaayyy!! R’s mom, you just made my day…I think the joy and success of writing is when people relate to it and then want to tweak something about how they do things! And go ahead and indulge your mom. She might protest, but trust me, she’s just lapping it all up! I tell you this from experience. 🙂 My mom read this piece and she giggled like a girl again even though she felt a bit embarrassed that I’d blogged a whole post about her! 🙂

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  19. Loved this post Deepthy…like you said, we all are more vocal about our choices now..not that I am complaining about it…and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it…

    I loved your Amma Appa story..really cute na..

    and I think most Ammas had this thing about one pair of shoes and handbag that lasts as long as the safety pin works..even my Amma is pretty much same and honestly, I am not the type who even buys stuff for her…but must to my happiness my husband does..he buys her handbags, watches and what not 🙂 and she seems to love them..guess one thing that I learnt from your post was, definitely go ahead and buy that handbag for Amma 🙂

    Thanks Zephyr as well for such a lovely guest post 🙂

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  20. Thank you Sharbori. I think the Shoe Story is a pan-Indian phenomenon isn’t it? I agree slotting people in categories like GenX and Y can be problematic. I find it problematic when I realise I know a lot of people (family included) who are Gen Y who have followed the behavioural patterns largely of Gen X( I have a feeling Cybernag will really toss her belan at me for this comment!). Though I must say, I think Cybernag has come up with these classifications to largely compare and contrast. The stark differences that have arisen in the thought processes is such a great mulling point. But you know what I find most charming? That today, if my opinion does not agree with my parents, they also know that its about making peace, there is no effort to crush my individuality or thought processes or just impose theirs and end the story there. 🙂 I wonder what new turns the Shoe Story will take when the wild Gen Z( Like Suranga calls them) make an appearance!! 🙂

    Look forward to seeing you on my blog too!

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  21. Dear Journomuse,
    nice post, beautiful usage of language and style

    I have always loved BATA shoes and in fact was brought up on an overdose of the same. During my childhood and teenage in Kolkata (60s and 70s), Puja celebrations started with buying a pair of shoes from the BATA store.

    I understand and appreciate your point of view re life as you see for yourself. I however, have personal difficulty with labels such as gen x or y (not that you alone are using it) or any other as I believe all these labels actually indulge more in generalities and create popular mythologies. they actually deter us looking at each person with their distinctiveness. These then also become tools to divide the world in black or white, which I am sure you dont agree with.

    I have subscribed to your blog and be eager to read more.

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  22. What is important is that you are happy in the choices you’ve made, and your mom is perfectly happy in the choice she made. At the end of the day, it is happiness we seek. And, I believe we must seek it within first before finding it in another person or people. What works for you might not work for me, but I respect your right to lead your life happily in the manner you have chosen. Enjoy!

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    1. I think our happiness comes circumscribed by family, commitments and responsibilities and finally veers towards us. Or at least that is the norm we were told to believe was the right path. I agree with you wholly that only if we seek happiness within and find our own personal equilibrium, can we seek happiness and provide it too to others! 🙂 Thanks Rachna!

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  23. As always you have written a post which I can so relate to. The things have been pretty similar with me too…I have made my own choices whereas my mother comes your mom’s generation..

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    1. V: High Five! I’m glad you got what I had to say…Though they may consider us radical, we are no bra-burners, are we?? 🙂

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  24. It requires immense confidence to be unapologetic about the choices you make in life. To stand by your convictions and to know what you want, what you don’t want.

    You worked hard for it, enjoy!

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    1. Purba, I think the one think you surrender when you decide to make the choices in your life is the option to crib. People that crib are largely (again not overgeneralising but making an observation) those who have let others decide and choose their paths in life. If you’d rather not crib, but just shake off the dust of mistakes and disregard the injuries and move on, then I think being the captain of your own ship has a lot going for it..:) Thank you, as always, your comments are very encouraging! 🙂

      Like

  25. debajyoti · · Reply

    lovely post!!

    and that’s an awesome poem!!

    and BATA rocks!!

    Like

    1. Thanks Debajyoti! Bata women rock…:) ( I added the women to your comment) 🙂

      Like

  26. What a lovely post ! This business about generations and shoes has all those mind-engines in a massive whir.

    I am probably to the far far left of Bata on the footwear scale. For a long time, a single pair of Kolhapuri Chappals has been my comfort footwear, regardless of the occasion. The long time also extends back into my college days, when broken chappal straps were fairly routine, and safety pins available in plenty. We thought nothing of walking miles in safety-pinized chappals, and sometimes even carried them in our hands, when things got difficult. And no one gave us a second look . Anywhere. And lets not talk about wearing footwear in the house. I dont. Ever.

    On the other hand, the gen Y of this family has chappal pairs in double digits, in various styles, and colors, and I was once left severely open mouthed, when subsequent to a sandal/chappal break in college, the gen Y member took an auto home (15 kms ), to change into an alternate working pair, and another auto back, as they still had some extra lectures. Cobblers never entered her mind, and walking barefoot to him was simply not done. It goes without saying that this gen Y has these cool slippers she wears at home.

    I’ve just realized that I a generation S or something like D. . And the next generation is a wild Z. …

    Like

    1. 😀 😀 😀 As the representative of Gen Y here, I humbly say “We Plead Guilty”!! I was chuckling through your comment because battlelines are drawn over wearing footwear into the house. Amma has a shoe stand on the porch, which when the neighbour’s dog began targeting, she moved her good pairs in and left only the cheap garden varieties (hawaii and rainywear that are too dirty to be moved in) outside. But the rule is you remove the footwear outside and carry it in your left hand and place them on the shoe-rack, strategically placed under the stairs before you do a 180degrees turn towards the wash-basin, wash your hands and proceed into the drawing-cum-dining room! In our flat that the sisters share in Mumbai, we have two HUGE shoeracks ‘strategically’ placed near the cupboards in the bedroom. So when Amma is around, we do the take the shoes-in-your-hands routine. When she isn’t, we just walk quickly because we believe the nimble-footed light impact don’t bring the dirt from outside into the house!

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  27. Hey Deepthy, here is you poem:

    Choosing Shoes
    (by Frida Wolfe)

    New shoes, new shoes,
    Red and pink and blue shoes.
    Tell me, what would you choose,
    If they’d let us buy?

    Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
    Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
    Strappy, cappy low shoes;
    Let’s have some to try.

    Bright shoes, white shoes,
    Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
    Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
    Like some? So would I.

    BUT
    Flat shoes, fat shoes,
    Stump-along-like-that shoes,
    Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
    That’s the sort they’ll buy.

    I’ll be damned if I haven’t seen that Bata woman before in my mother. Except that my mother was a housewife. I really don’t know if I am qualified enough to make an observation on your view of the world. More so as I can’t place myself in any generation except probably in (x²+2xy+y²)/2. You are obviously not allowing anyone to take you for granted and that is the way it should be.

    It was great to have a glimpse of your roots which you have put before us in a remarkably dispassionate style. Carry one, young lady!

    Like

    1. USP: As usual, your comments bring a smile to my face.

      Now your post shows two things about my generation – if we can get away with laziness, we do.. that I only wrote three stanzas was in a (psst.way showing off that I remembered so much…but in the same vein, I also forgot the key bit! The soul of the poem is in the last stanza!! and thank you so much for posting it and literally doing a repair job of the mess I made. That they choose fat stodgy shoes was the crunch bit, which in my grandiose manner I overlooked!

      Damn! ( are expletives allowed here, Cybernag?) But as always, thank you for forever being encouraging…

      Like

  28. Very charming, Deepthy! I fondly remember how “forward” my Mom was considered when she started using “Tata” shampoo instead of the shikakai powder. 🙂 And then, two years later, I introduced Sunsilk into our bathroom shelf. And everyone expected our gorgeous mane to fall off pronto! Yikes.

    Still, I love the “then” and “now”, the transition and the old stories. I guess that’s because I am a child of the sixties.

    Wonderful read!

    Like

    1. Thanks Vidya! I was so worried whether there would be censures and tut-tuts coming my way for speaking it as I see it. In fact I thought CyberNag was pretty brave to give my post space on her blog. Like I was telling Sumitra, I think every generation pushes the envelope a couple of inches forward. Generation Y I think stopped putting them into envelopes. We just email! 🙂 Radically different approach to the Generation X. If you are a child of the sixties, I wonder Aunty Nag, where do we categorise the 60s brats?? They aren’t in with the Xs I’m thinking who are the fifties children?? And if we are Y, who are the children of the sixties?? Comments…The Flower Generation? 🙂

      Like

      1. 😀 Deepthy! Go ahead, call me a hippie! 😀 I love it. And I like how you said envelopes to emails (now that’s a great post idea!). The happy thing I’ve noticed is this: if I look at the, say, grandparents, parents and grandchildren equation from my generation’s point of view – almost always I’ve noticed that the grandparents are the most forward, the most tolerant and the most fun. Ready to try new stuff. Could I be right or could I be right?

        Like

        1. Well you leave me no choice but to say You are right..but then again, just the stray thought…when your generation turns grandparents too, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to over-indulge the little brats because disciplining is no more your domain. I think grandparents turn into the cool generation for the brat generation because they indulge with so much passion 🙂 No? Am I wrong or am I oh-so-wrong? 🙂

          Like

      2. @Deepthy, @ Vidya: What! How dare you question the courage of a Gen X woman? Hmph…..I always am with women, whichever generation they belong to. And you didn’t come out with a screechy tone, but spoke sensibly while ahem…paying tributes to the earlier gen. So you got featured. 🙂 And hey, WE were the hippies and the flower children AND the Gen X! Go find some other term for yourself! 😀

        Like

        1. You know Cybernag, for the indulgent grand-mom generation you now represent, you are fairly territorial..:) Now Vidya, flower child is also them, they say, so where does that leave you? the Jeans-Pant generation? 😉

          Like

  29. Such a well written article! “But I’m not metamorphosing into a man like dad” – I especially loved this line. Several women these days, I feel, are losing touch with their feminine side in a bid to succeed in a man’s world. Now by feminine side, I don’t mean changing diapers, dressing pretty and cooking food.

    Individualism has its pros and cons. Of course it feels good to have a preference and an opinion on everything. But then life isn’t so beautiful when ‘I’ rears its head all the time, either. At times, holding back makes a lot more sense than asserting yourself. Like you’ve said, it’s better not to generalize, but to take situations as and when they come.

    Like

    1. Well, I think we are culturally too, inclined towards making strong value judgments on just about anything that is seen as slightly veering from the ‘ideal’ or the ‘norm’. Girls today, especially city girls are all clubbed into homogenous group – ‘family-minded’ girls are not to be seen at clubs and pubs and vice versa, isn’t it? It is time to break a few moulds and just saying we aren’t ready to be stereotyped yet..:) But that said, I guess Generation Y like CyberNag calls us have learnt from a great breed of Generation X..We just bettered what they did to push the envelope that bit more, I think..

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  30. This is a very mature and a very well thought out piece. As a single Gen Y woman myself, I caught myself nodding at most of points. Yes times and changed and with that so has the outlook of women in this country. You are right; women of this generation are becoming individualistic and learning to “not” compromise in life. I meet more and more young women who want to live their lives on their own terms and why Not!
    Once again, this is an extremely well written post. Thank you zephyr, for introducing us to another marvelous blogger!

    Like

    1. Ruchira, High Five…More power to you, NEVER compromise…Maybe the difference is unlike our moms, we check our balance sheets of life lived so far a little too often? They were meticulous accountants-charting a well-maintained house, well-fed adjusted children and a generally non-interfering husband in the credit side and then compromising with the job and not bothering to put that in the debit column, while we want everything and a side order of MORE. My mother for instance, never acted upon requests by her managers to take the managerial test to move up from the position of a clerk in a bank because she felt it would jeopardise her work-life balance.

      Like

  31. A very sweet post Deepthy! All I can say is that there is a price to be paid for everything in life , including maintaining individuality:)

    Like

    1. Thanks Rahul. I couldn’t agree with you more, but somewhere a tiny girl’s voice says the challenges when you are a girl are just a tad more than if you were a boy. As with everything else, we could argue about this till the proverbial cows come home! 🙂

      Like

  32. Loved the Bata woman and her two shoe-maniac daughters. In the final analysis it is all about doing the right thing in a way that is conducive to one’s personality, without being radical or strident. I appreciate the balanced ones of the Gen Y for doing this. In this respect, they are no different from the women of Gen X, who had learnt to thrive in adverse climes.

    Like

    1. Well, I guess Aunty Nag, call them Gen X or Gen Y, being a woman in a man’s world and about being comfortable about it requires a massive amount of adjustment. Actually making the system work in your favour requires a strong individuality – my mother silently asserts it, I often bumble and shout it off the rooftops. But we still make it work in our own way, as I know you do! 🙂

      Like

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