The Shoe Thief

Update for 3 February 2010

In many South Asian weddings, a very interesting ritual relates to footwear “theft”. I know that much of North India, and parts of west and central India indulge in these childlike pranks at the wedding, while our western neighbours also enjoy this ritual when the traditional groom shoes or slippers are stolen from literally under the groom’s nose, and returned only after paying the princely ransom money to the bride’s friends and sisters. About 15 years ago, this simple ritual was immortalized on the silver screen in a movie that many watched in India and Pakistan, and wherever else the South Asian populace resided. The shoes had been slyly snuck out from under the watchful eye of the groom’s brother and the battle to get it back started off a song sequence that I would like to revive here. The brother (who was the hero in the film) wore a mustard and black ensemble that made him look like a cross between a white and black Friesian bull and a red Brahmin. On knowing his folly, he ran towards the heroine, who wore this shimmering green flowing outfit which was majestically crowned by the silky green head-scarf, chunari. The heroine was quite crafty and with her million dollar (and many more rupees) smile and charm, ran away with the shoe-box. She escaped being caught by literally gliding up the stairwell that was conveniently located at the centre of the wedding venue, her house. And when she reached the top of the flight, she turned, looked at the hero, and gave her thousand watt and million dollar smile once again, with a hint of shyness as she held her cupped left palm to her lips. She was waving the shoe box in her right hand as the song ended and the musical orchestra reached a crescendo! This was one of the reasons why this movie went on to become the blockbuster of the decade, and among the biggest money-rakers in Indian movie history!

The good news from around the globe seemed to cheer the D Boyz as they started their workday on D Street by painting the SENSEX a shade of green. Then the lilting music of strong market moves in Hong Kong, China, Singapore wafted in, and the Boyz were in a mood to recreate the famous Heroine with Shoebox in Hand sequence and so let the SENSEX be the plucky heroine and her run-up the staircase was well orchestrated by the Boyz and like in the song sequence, the SENSEX ended with a flourish at the top! The SENSEX moved up on that blockbuster 332 point note to end at 16496! 29 stars on the SENSEX were green today – and only a medicine company stumbled a little – maybe the coughing interlude between the heroes, D Boyz and their heroine, SENSEX, was not something the drugmaker was prepared for.

The Hero did charm the heroine after the song and the chase and the heroine did mellow down from her plucky self. Thereafter whenever they met each other, they would cough artificially like a secret exchange code greeting (and they strangely did that even when they spoke to each other on the phone!). This was the cue for the background music scorer to start the mandolin signature tune!! I can hear it in my head! Hope you do, too..


2 thoughts on “The Shoe Thief

  1. Narayan, Thanks for such a “plot” in being written so well. I think you can soon start writing a novel. Citi’s loss will be Literature’s gain… Keep writing.

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