The Barefoot Story

I was walking around barefoot, not because I was trying to follow in the footsteps of the legendary MF Hussain who went about barefooted because he liked the feel of the earth under his feet. And neither was it a mark of protest in support of any greater cause like that of Greta Thunberg, even though I love the girl and the cause.

My barefoot status came about due to the stellar role played by my Beagle puppy/teenager/young adult/adult – I’m never sure which, as he calls the shots on which ‘avatar’ he’s going to play out on any given day.

So, it all began when Pluto (the aforementioned beagle) chewed up my last pair of slippers after demolishing the spare pair earlier. This was shortly after I discovered the nibbled toes of the slip-ons and mangled uppers of the jootis.

Now, under normal circumstances, this would have gone under the category of being a slight nuisance since Pluto’s demolition skills were well established. However, this time the discovery came to light in the hours leading up to the first lockdown.

With the clock ticking, I was faced with the dilemma of choosing between making a dash (my sneakers were fine, just the laces were chewed up) to the footwear store, or heading out to join the mile long queues at the grocery store/vegetable vendor/milk outlet instead.

Fortunately, the choice was made for me as the survival instinct kicked in. And for the next eight weeks, I was living the barefoot life in the world’s first lockdown.

The initial challenge was figuring out how to do the chores barefoot without over-wearing the only sensible footwear still intact – the sneakers (the ones with the chewed up shoelaces). I did have the usual numbers of strappy shoes and heels (safely hidden away from Pluto’s sniff zone), but they weren’t exactly appropriate for doing the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. So, that meant the only time my feet were shod was when the aforementioned perpetrator was taken for his walks.

Pluto wasn’t complaining of course as this meant unhindered access to toes to nibble on along with everything else he was chewing away every chance he got. It wasn’t long before this chewing-of-all-he-surveys resulted in multiple trips being made to the veterinarian.

What followed was a course of three injections followed by 5 days of antibiotics (half tab morning, half tab evening), a whole bunch of investigations to check various parameters, supported by multi vitamins and vanilla ice cream.

I had sleepless nights worrying about Pluto not eating though I shouldn’t have been surprised considering that most of my footwear had been through his stomach. What did surprise me, however, was the approval of the kindly neighbourhood oldies every time they saw me walking around barefoot in the mistaken belief that I was following the age old practice of ‘grounding’. Well, it was easier to let them believe it since nothing would have changed their mind about their most “angelic” fur baby of the neighbourhood.

These eight barefoot weeks were a great learning. Not only did I re-examine the concept of essential vs non essential, I also took a deep dive into what really matters at the end of the day. While air, water, food and shelter are a given, so is footwear. Don’t believe me? Ask the thousands who were abandoned and forced to walk back hundreds of miles to their homes in the towns and villages. And to a very miniscule degree, also the Beagle Moms who were left barefoot to tell their story.

Read more by Rashmi B. Nayar


Image Credit : Shagun Nayar

32 thoughts on “The Barefoot Story”

  1. Wow that was some delightful read…chappal ho na ho!! BN. Whatever said and done, lockdown has made all of us discover something about ourselves.. Reading this made me wonder.. thanks@Rashmi

    1. Thank you so much Bela. I love that you found it entertaining and thought provoking too.

  2. Haha….
    Just reading about Pluto and his antics is a good way to start the day. I Love your tongue in cheek humour, and style.

    1. Thank you so much Himani. Pluto’s antics have been quite a stress buster in this lockdown, notwithstanding the bare feet :))

  3. Jaideep Bhowmik. Brought a smile to my face. Very well written ,infact I can visualise young Pluto nibbling at your footwear. Keep sharing these delightful stories

    1. Thank you so much Jaideep. I’m so glad this got you grinning. I remember Bella and Bingo’s puppy days and the cute things they did 🙂

  4. Such a amicable way if looking at the disaster perpetrated by your pet. I wish all of us had that positive interpretation to your pets gimmicks, after all they are being natural.

    1. Thank you so much Rajyashree. That’s such a wonderful way of looking at it! You are like the Sunflowers that you love so much in the way you are able to see the bright side of everything.

    1. Thank you so much Neeraa. Such a blessing our fur babies have been in making this lockdown easier.

  5. 😆😆 Amazing write up so beautifully mentioned everything in detail Loved going thru it.Can visualize it hehee.😘😘

    1. Thank you so much Abha. You would be able to relate to it well with your beautiful fur babies, there’s never a dull moment with them around!

    1. Thank you so much Buchi. I always remember your words when Pluto’s being super naughty…beagles really are SF 🐕!

  6. Ma’am I love your style of writing.. Very candid and straight from the heart.. Keeps me hooked on to the story till the end..

    Please keep them coming more often..

    Amol Gill

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Amol. Funnily enough, writing the candid one took more effort this time maybe because there’s just so much grim news all around. I hope Pluto’s shenanigans had you laugh out loud :))

  7. Another wonderful story from our hugely talented Rashmi….this one had me chuckling from start to ending. As a complete shoeaholic I can sympathize….but…. don’t you find that our pets become our babies and you end up forgiving them everything? They bring such joy to us, and laughter,as you have amply illustrated with your tale.
    Keep the write ups coming. It’s something good to look forward to.

    1. Thank you so much Preeti. Seriously, how our fur babies get away with murder, I swear! I’m so glad it had you laughing…thank you for the encouragement always 😊

  8. What fun you brought with your chappal story…loved every bit of it. You must be missing them every moment and turned it around to spread Joy. Lovely!

    1. Thank you Amita. I just love how you have seen it as a story about turning adversity into a strength…the lockdown has been a lesson in that as much. Thank you for your encouraging words 🙂

  9. Footwear/ at least flip flops and likes definitely ought to be essential! And wine..tell me about it🙄.
    Pluto 😍😍 He will soon outgrow the footwear and you will be guarding other essentials then ..haha! Loved the narration and the endearing sense of humor Rashmi❣️

    1. Thank you Sangeeta for the warning…haha…just when I was thinking he will soon outgrow the puppy thing of chewing up stuff!! Thank you so much for the appreciation sweetie, it serves as a real motivation 🙂

  10. It is a very thoughtful write up Mrs Nayar. Starting with the humour part, one did not realize it that there was such a strong message conveyed in the end with such an ease. Pluto is a joy to the family. He made us realize that where are we heading towards. Even the educated citizens cannot categorize between the essential and non essential things. Loved every bit of it.

    1. Thank you for your wonderfully incisive feedback Shrishti. Love how you interpreted the subtext so beautifully. You picked up the undercurrents of the travails and misery caused by the lockdown so perfectly. Thank you so much…much love <3

    1. Thank you so much Mona for your encouragement always. Am so glad you enjoyed the piece…much love <3

  11. You are really gifted. My second read in 30 minutes has left me wanting for more.. Have you been writing for long! Where else?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *