Rahul da Cunha: Conversations with a Chappal

By  Rahul da Cunha | Posted  02-Apr-2017

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

So, I had a conversation with the most famous footwear in the country. Yes, the same one that slapped an airline officer.

That same one that has been banned for flying by every major domestic airline.

(Even Kingfisher, Air Deccan, Indian Airlines, Damania Airways and East West have come out of retirement to support this ban)

"Chappal saab," I began. "The nation wants to know, even Arnab is asking, are you a slipper, a chappal, a floater, a Croc, a sapat, rubber flip-flops, open heeled chappals? What are you?"

"Hey, hey! I am no ordinary footwear, samjhe. I am a sandal, made from the skin of cows only found in the Western Ghats!"

"But, that's cow slaughter, how can you..." I began.

"Hey, hey! I am not eating the beef, merely using the hide," the Sahyadri sandal corrected me.

"Mr Chappalji, if indeed you are made of the finest leather, then how come not a single mark was found on the face of the officer you slapped, pretty wimpy you are! "

"25 jhapads I gave that officer and he definitely felt it."

"How did you keep count? How did you know it was exactly 25 and not 27 or 30 or six?"

"My personal trainer is with me at all times. He keeps count, makes sure I do my workouts regularly.

He decided that I should divide the slaps into various body parts.

Two to his calves, two to his quadriceps, two to his hamstrings, two to the thighs, four to the rotator cuff, five to the shoulders, two to the chest, two to the rhomboids and the rest to his face. So, I got a full body work out — I was not trying to give him 'thappads', merely to tone up my own body with repetitions."

"But, either way, how do you feel that now you will have to take trains, ST buses and hired Ubers/Olas everywhere?"

"I may not have air travel, but the makers of Air Jordan have contacted my agents for a new line of sports sandals. Many major footwear companies collaborated on my manufacture. I'm like the iPhone of sandals — each part of me is made by a separate company. Bata and Carona have created the particular shape like a tiger's paw. The sole is by Adides (an Ulhasnagar imitation), the buckle is Chinese. You can now get me online – we have a range of colours, even special sub-brands – like there's an orange 'Yogi Adityanath' sandal, we are offering the Anti-Romeo sandal, where the left one is a man's size and right one is a ladies'."

"Nike is making a special golden sandal that will replace the Golden Boot for the next Football world cup. Boss, many celebrities want to be associated."

"Karan Johar wants to produce a film called Kabhie Slipper Kabhi Sole. Chetan Bhagat is writing a book called Half Sandal."

"Shri Chappal, you should also know Sir Elton John wrote a special song for you."

"Oh really, very nice, naam kya hai?"

"Sorry seems to be the hardest word."

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com