India 2011 – A Load of Cobblers

So a week since I first landed in Delhi I have settled into life here well and it almost feels like I never left last year. And I am beginning to take this daily sunshine as granted! As I get into the swing of life here I can elaborate on day to day life and the little things that make it so interesting and different.

A load of cobblers.

This is a cockney expression from East London. Given that I now live in East London and I have just got some precious shoes fixed by a street cobbler, I felt it was time to give the humble Indian street cobbler some cyberspace coverage!

Although shoes, sandals and flip flops (also known as chappals in Hindi) have become cheaper and cheaper the role of the street cobbler is still pretty relevant and visible in India. You can find him sitting at most street corners and he will repair shoes while you wait or within a matter of hours on the same day. He is hard working and does his work in the daylight hours. If anyone has to bear the Indian Summer heat the most then it has to be this humble and hardworking cobbler! He literally spends hours in temperatures of 40 Celsius and higher in the summer months.

Street cobbler in Dwarka, Delhi

Delhi street cobbler fixing some shoes while his client waits

My precious right shoe had a slight tear, it’s a great fit, versatile, stylish and comfortable. I wanted to keep this pair of shoes so I took them to a shoe and key repair shop in London.  I was told that the tear was not exactly along the sewing lines so they could not fix it. The Delhi cobbler didn’t see any problem with this and gave it some strong stitches. After almost a year my shoes are back in action and it feels good 🙂

And he charged a very reasonable Rupees 20 for it. That equates to 25 pence in British money. Respect to the cobbler dude, he is self employed, he earns his money in the hot sun and he deserves fair praise for his under rated craft.


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