Care in a Pair

We have a bunch of $5 bills given by friends with the loving mandate to do some things nice and small. It has inspired us to buy meals for janitors at the airport, pay forward the hotel rent, sponsor tabla classes for students that we haven’t met and a few other things. And those small acts have come full circle – bigger and better, from so called strangers in far away places. Here is the latest recepient of your gift:

Recently, we met Rangan, an ever-smiling middle-aged man of our village. His feet are always bare. When we dug a little, we learnt that he is an excellent farm hand who owns no land and makes a living wage just enough to support his family (we hired him to sow our first seeds). Like many villagers of the older generation, he walks quite a few miles barefoot in the hot sun every day. I guess items like a pair of slippers could not be part of his ‘needs’.

Couple of evenings later, we were returning from the market in our Scooter and we spotted Rangan! chatting with a buddy.  Ragu made a U turn instantly and we parked at a distance safe enough for us to gauge his foot size secretly.  After many angles of inspection, we still couldn’t decide if his foot size was 6 or 7. Anyways, off we went to the shoe store and spotted a pair of elegant, sturdy, brown slippers at the very entrance.

Incidentally, Rangan visited us the same night to collect some dues. We had dinner together and when he got the package in hand, he looked a little confused.  A second later, his signature smile came alive and with a tinge of shyness, he said ‘nice color’. As he walked away, our eyes followed his feet. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Now we are wondering about many such good hands with bare feet, and come to think of it bare head, scorching in the hot sun. A small seed has been planted in our heart regarding a Hat&Sandals gift-economy store. How do we get is started and how will it survive? Any Ideas?

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