Nylon slippers

arly 1958 I was a third-year Degree student at S P College, Srinagar. A word spread around that synthetic cloth and synthetic slippers are the latest inventions. Some boasted that their cousins settled across the tunnel, on visit to the valley had already given them a surprise by these articles of wonder. Some praised the cloth that it did not need ironing. Some said that the clothes of such a wonderful fabric get cleaned by a dip in the tub of water.

Soon BATA shops exhibited the nylon slippers in its showcases. It was slippers with strips. For a long time separate strips were also available at the shop as spare part. Each pair was for three rupees and the pair of strips for 12 annas. Units of a rupee were annas and paisas. A rupee consisted of sixteen annas. Each anna consisted of four paisa and each paisa consisted of three pie or two half-paisa.

It was the period of change over. Old system changed to metric system. Now the rupee has 100 paise instead of 64. To differentiate one from the other, the new paisa got prefixed with ‘naya’ and was named as ‘naya’ paisa. Likewise weights changed from ‘seer’, ‘trukh’, ‘ mun’ to kilogram and quintal; lengths changed from yard-foot-inches to centimeter-metre-kilometre; liquid in litres. But it took longer time to wash hands with dettol soap instead by brown clay; utensils by vim bar instead by ash or clay.

Laboratory facilities for Zoology and Botany for Fsc. Medical students were only at S P College Srinagar. Other colleges in Kashmir Province catered to the studies of Arts and Non-medical only. The few Girl students of Medical stream at Women College Srinagar used to share the laboratory of S P College. Today each and every Higher Secondary School in the State is well equipped with all the facilities for all the streams of studies.

It did not take much time for Bata Shops to hang a wall hanging reading: “out of stock”. Affluent class was the first come first served. Surprisingly in the latest fashion girls took the lead. The dust on the roads got stirred due to the slaps of the slippers. From Sathu Barbar shah to women College- S P College, visibility became almost zero.

Shopkeepers along the road turned asthmatic. Open shops became dusty.

Again people to people word whispered that these slippers are meant for bathroom and not for college or office. Those days there was no conception of bathroom. One toilet point used to be at the remotest corner of the courtyard for the entire family or families. Wooden common slippers ‘khedawon’ was the footwear for going to the toilet. Male members used to bathe at the river ghat and women folk in a tin tub.

In absence of the bathroom conception, the theory of bathroom was out rightly rejected by people who had already invested on the new invention.

No word worked, but as the change in fashion is customary, next season, visibility in the college lane retuned to normalcy.

Bríjû dàss chhú vanàn låsív tû båsív.
B K Dass, a wanderer in exile at nearly 73 from Dubai. Deprived of his Cremation Ground by his brethren from the Majority Community instigated by looters, killers, extortionists, supervised by the Farooq Abdullah Government of 1989 with an acquiescence from the Rajiv Gandhi's Government at the Centre .
I was born to my parents late Pundit Madho Dass and Rajrani (Sanpekuj) at Zaindar Mohalla Srinagar, Kashmir. I am told that I was born on 19th.February 1939. I graduated degree final through S P College Srinagar, in the year 1960. Until 1961, I worked as a Government teacher partly at Zainakote and partly at Verinagh High School in 60-5-100 grade @ Rs.96/ pm. 1962, I joined as UDC at AG’s office and the salary was almost four times. Though lifetime dream had come true, but I resigned in August ‘63 to improve upon my academics. 1963-65, I again enjoyed the student life at Mathematics Department of J&K University, Naseem Bagh, Srinagar, Kashmir. 1965-66, I completed B.Ed through the Teachers’ Training College Srinagar. Free education was the main bait to be in the Educational Institutions.
1966, I joined Statistical Department and 1975, I bade goodbye to the Government job. March 1973 onwards I am associated with M Dass Public Schools to pursue my passion for teaching
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