blogitto ergo sum

May 24, 2011

#185 – and God said take off thy shoes from thy feet [part I]

“And he said, Approach not hither: put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place on which thou standest is holy ground.”

[Exodus 3:5, Webster’s Bible Translation]

and they do.  the Indians that is.

one needs to cover one’s head when entering a synagogue, but covering your head in a church is disrespectful.  high-end resort restaurants require footwear as part of a mandatory attire, yet when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple one is required to take off shoes out of respect.  the same goes for a mosque.  and don’t forget to take off your shoes when entering an Asian home [China, India, Japan..]

i put on shoes as a self-expression act.  i may say, oh it’s just something I threw together about my outfit, and mean it too.  rarely I’d say such about shoes.  this is  the biggest challenge/dilemma biking presents to me, together with rings and earrings.

Shilparaman, Hyderabad

yet, it’s no effort to get me to take off my shoes.  barefoot is my default footwear at home, to the long-lasting disappointment and frustration of my mom. from her POV, walking  barefoot reflected on my lack of manners.  eventually she gave up on ‘ridding’ me of the barefoot habit.  to be fair, as kids and teenagers, the barefoot thing wasn’t about taking off your shoes as you walked into the house.  it was walking barefoot.  period.  and it is indeed dirty.  luckily, i don’t think my mom will read my admission here.

worshiper @ Jagannath Puri Temple, Hyderabad

few years back, seeking the advice of a feng shui consultant, i met Ran Ben Eli.  i was speechless when he said matter of fact 10 minutes into our appointment, “and you love walking barefoot.” forget psychics, this is not something one’s body language reveals.  and i had no cracked skin to telltale on me. “why?  how did you know?” i asked.  “well, it’s simple,” he said.  “you have too much energy flowing through you and your mind wonders; you require grounding.” that simple, ha?  to stress the point, plus few others, he suggested that quieting my mind would do me only good.  20-something needles and 90 minutes later i felt nothing.  back at Avaya’s office, where i was working in that home visit, it took my friends about 20 minutes to notice that I’m quieter than usual.  took two days for the “slow down; be quiet” to wear off. go figure.

@ Jagannath Puri Temple

taking shoes off  is more prominent in India than in any other place I’ve ever visited.  given how dusty or dirty the streets are, it’s the sensible thing to do.  if your store is stocked with merchandise, floor included, dusty sandals won’t do it any good.  it may be a force of habit. i didn’t inquire.

@ Shilparaman, Hyderabad

where taking off your sandals is a common practice, how can i resist “documenting” it, along with some of the creative footwear one finds in India.  and so i did.



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