Cinderella has always been my favourite fairy tale character and the main reason for this is my fetish for shoes, though I can only fantasize and wish for her glass slippers. And if I had one, I am sure I would never leave it behind even for the prince to find it and come looking for me. Imagine leaving behind a glass slipper! I would have gone berserk with the insane attachment I have for my shoes.
I am a shoe hoarder too. Though, in the past few years I have taught myself to treat this condition and have been much better. My obsession with shoes go back to my college days and it continued for many years later leading to a situation where I had more shoes than I could accommodate. It was unthinkable for me to wear just any random shoe without matching it with my attire. I never cared much about the clothes I would wear but the shoes just have to be right.
And yes, I am the kind of person who judges a person by the shoes they wear. The first thing I notice about anybody is their shoes, and it happens quite spontaneously, without much preconceived thought.
There was a time, when I also used to be very particular about the kind of shoes I would wear. I had a penchant for high heels and stilettoes. Those with sleek straps were my favourite. This has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in Shillong where fashion is taken very seriously. Stilettoes and high heels are almost a culture thing for the natives in that part of the country. Women in high heels walking down hilly alleys are the commonest sights. It’s almost like hiking in high heels. And, it doesn’t matter even if it is raining incessantly for days on end – incessant rainfall is quite a norm there.
When I moved out of my home in Shillong to Kolkata, I couldn’t carry all my shoes with me. As a result, in Kolkata I had to have an entirely new collection. My one too many shoes has often been the cause for many a discord I have had with my sister in whose apartment I used to live. She had bought this new apartment and was very particular about its décor. With my shoes struggling for space among other things, her exasperation wasn’t surprising.
The high heels and stilettoes are long gone since the time I set foot in Bangalore, probably because of the terrible pot-holed lanes and roads of this hi-tech city. Also, my newly developed interest towards hiking and trekking led to a shift in the kind of shoes I focused on. Again, there were other issues like the excessive price of branded shoes, the limited choices; the ones I liked wouldn’t fit my small feet, and so on. As a result, my obsession has thankfully waned considerably, though I still pay enough attention to not put on anything random.
I am still not at a stage where I can do away with buying shoes that I actually don’t require, though I wish I was. Shopping is therapeutic, which is nothing but dopamine release. In my case, the dopamine release happens specifically only in the case of shoe shopping.
I still get most of my shoes from Shillong, where one is literally spoilt for choice and the remarkably low prices are simply unimaginable. Even though, when it comes to shoes of my choice I really don’t care about the price. Most importantly, almost all the shoes are available in smaller sizes and my small feet are not a limitation there.
My insane attachment with my shoes reach obscene proportions at times especially when I refuse to part ways with tattered and torn ones, those that I cannot use anymore. I have even gone to the extent of carrying shoes that need repair all the way to Shillong, as I don’t trust the cobblers anywhere else.
A huge collection of my high heeled shoes still remain in Shillong and in Kolkata. I refuse to give them away even though I know I may never wear them again. I am also aware that my mother has donated many without my knowledge, which she refuses to accept fearing that it will upset me. I would hate to admit this but a part of me secretly wants her to donate the rest as well. Perhaps that’s the only way to get rid of my mindless attachment.