My good brown shoes are in need of repair.
My work shoes.
I bought them in London only last year and they were very expensive. The sole on one of my shoes has separated at the heel.
It is the left shoe.
These shoes are English.
There is a long history of soul separation with the English. I know this because I have witnessed it first hand.
More than once.
My brown shoes are very comfortable but the workmanship in the manufacture of them was obviously poor. My shoe repairman here in Singapore has confirmed this.
This afternoon I took my shoes to Mr. Santosh.
He has a small shop on Ballister Road, which is not too far from my house.
It is but a short bicycle ride away.
Mr. Santosh has repaired shoes for me before - and when he looked at the sole separation that had occurred on my left shoe he told me that he was not impressed with the stitching.
He told me that it was inferior in quality.
Mr. Santosh was not at all impressed with the workmanship.
Mr. Santosh works in his little shop on Ballister Road seven days a week.
The name Santosh means 'happiness' in Hindi.
I find this most appropriate, as Mr. Santosh is always very happy when I see him. He beamed when I walked into his shop today. He rushed from behind his workbench to shake my hand.
Both my hands in fact.
"Good day to you Mr. Peter. You are be getting fatter" he said.
"Good day to you Mr. Santosh". I replied.
"Yes I am indeed be getting fatter."
He refers to me as "Mr. Peter" and I always refer to him as 'Mr. Santosh'.
There is mutual respect and politeness in our relationship.
When I handed him my damaged shoe he looked at it and he tut tutted. I explained that they were English and he nodded knowingly.
Mr. Santosh has a wife who also works in their small shop.
She is a seamstress.
She has repaired clothes for me in the past. She has taken up the hems of my trousers and she has sewn new buttons on my old shirts.
Her name is Mihika.
The English translation of this name is "Dew drops". Santosh and Mihika have a daughter whose name is Venya. The name Venya means "lovable' in Hindi. I like the translation of many Hindi names. I like them a lot.
They exude meaning.
They convey love.
I have not met Venya before as she is studying in the US - at NYU. She is going to be a Human Rights lawyer. Santosh and Mihika are very proud of Venya and quite rightly so. Everything they do is for her. Everything that they have ever done is for her.
She is their Everything.
Their eyes light up when they talk about their daughter. They have shown me many photos of her and there are quite a few of her tacked to the wall above Mr. Santosh workbench.
She is always smiling in these pictures.
I asked Mr. Santosh how Venya was doing in New York - while he was inspecting my shoes.
Still tut tutting.
"Venya is being doing very well Mr. Peter sir,” he told me.
Mr. Santosh told me this with a little wobble of his head and I could see him beginning to swell with pride.
"She has been doing her final exams in June and then she will be graduating", he told me.
"And then she will be coming home?" I asked.
"We are being hoping so Mr. Peter. We are being hoping so that she will be coming home"
Mr. Santosh thinks that it is wise to re-glue and then stitch up the soles of both shoes - even though it is only the left one that is damaged. I thought this might be the case so I brought both with me.
They will be ready on Wednesday.
They will be better than new.