Walk a Day in Their Shoes

October 6, 2014 , by Bikkil Sthapit, Leave your thoughts
Shoes – one of the most understated and overlooked parts in our daily lives. We buy them, walk miles in them, make them dirty, forget about cleaning them, wear them out and finally, discard them. For some of us, shoes are things that you grow out of. While for some, it’s a way of life.
New Road is the busiest area in the heart of Kathmandu City. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, there is a chautara near the iconic Peepal Tree where one can see a line of shoemakers, more commonly known as Sarki in Nepal. A total of 20 registered Sarkis operate their business in the area. They earn a living based on daily wages by repairing and polishing shoes all day.

And it’s not just any polishing job. These men here are professionals and are the best at what they do. If you have ever had your shoes polished by a professional, you would know. It might sound laughable to some. But trust me, it’s an art.

This Dashain, DREAMS brings you the story of Min Bahadur Ramtel. Our photographer, Bikkil Sthapit dedicated two whole days during Dashain this year to capture Mr. Ramtel’s life. At age 60, he still glows of youth and vigor as he marches down to New Road every day. Let’s take a walk in Mr. Ramtel’s shoes for a day with our photo story.

There are 20 registered shoemakers and Min Bahadur Ramtel holds Stall Number 15 in the shoe-mending chautara in Newroad. He is always the last one to arrive. Seen in the picture : His unopened trunk of tools after everyone else has arrived.
The other shoemakers’ stalls are all set and already busy dealing with customers.
Everyone leaves their tools under the huge Peepal tree in New Road. Min Bahadur finally unpacking his stall.
Min Bahadur lives in Chapagaun, Lalitpur which is 9 kilometres away from his workplace. It’s a 90 minutes commute for one-way travel – his reason for coming to work later than everyone else.
Relief – He unfolds a huge purple Ncell umbrella to give him shade throughout the day.
Brand Conscious – Bee & Flower is the brand he believes in.
Min Bahadur at his best.
Shoe Stories, happy endings – Clients walk away with polished shoes that shine like mirrors.
In a brown study – One after another, his business gets going.
The topi makes the man- After his early morning rituals, he gets ready to take 90minutes ride from Chapagaun to New road.
Man of faith – He is a god worshipper and believes that God is the one who takes care of him and his family.
Khaanaa khaanu aghi haat dhunu parchha – Min Bahadur getting ready for his 9:00AM meal before he leaves for work.
A man is rich if he has a family – The family photo misses both his sons. They both work for Nepal Army.
Home is where the heart is – He shows his old house in front of his newly plastered one.
Dashain ko Shubhakaamanaa- Exchanging Dashain wishes with his neighbors.
He has to cross the Bajrayogini jungle to catch a micro-bus that will take him to work.
He spends NRs. 86 everyday to reach his workplace. He has to change buses at Lagankhel junction.
Tomorrow awaits for this persistently tireless soul.
Photos by Bikkil Sthapit
Words by Aayesha Gurung Rai
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Categorised in: Liefstyle, People

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