Monthly Archives: February 2017

Our Mochi


His father Vithal Karande was the first  mochi in the village.

He is one of our  icons. None other than Ashok Karande our lean and  talkative mochi ( Hindi word for cobbler) We pass him by daily and he will always have a smile and a brief look at your footwear.

How is it today. Does it require a stitch or two? Or is it so dull and requires a shine like the brilliant sunshine.

He hails from a  family of traditional cobblers. He started in a big way, by stitching handmade shoes. …which were well made and quite well priced too!!

His father continued with usual repairs and shoe shines, in a different location of the village adjacent to a big bungalow. Ashok was given pride of place in a makeshift workplace under a staircase of a house, which serves has his ‘Operation Theatre’.

Now you will wonder why? He loves to call the shoes that he receives for repair, as his ‘patients’.

One of his immediate concerns is to ensure that “ Patient’s cha operation zala, thari, gari la , patnar “ ( The moment the patient’s surgery is done, he has to be sent home) so he says i.e He requires the finished shoes to be handed over, as he has limited place.

I was stunned to see him one day at the nearby Dockyard Road Railway Station. He had changed to his civies (normal attire) unlike his work clothes, which is a loose fitting pyjama, and top.

I enquired, after a brief struggle to recognize Ashok in  his changed appearance “ Kai, Ashok,  tumcha office sutli kai? Ani gari chalale? “   He then replied “ Ho,office sutli, pan, tumchi patient ajun gari nahi geli.” ( What Ashok, you finished for the day and going home? He replied” Yes, but your patient has still not gone home.”  In other words, ‘ you better ensure that you take your finished shoes home’.

In today’s world, where there is a throwaway culture, Ashok belongs to a slowly disappearing breed of cobblers, who still plays an important role in the village of Matharpacady. His place also serves as a meeting point for a little chat for some of the passersby.

Matharpacady itself is one of   a few preserved villages of quaint bungalows in the heart of South Múmbai,  struggling to retain its stature and resilience of old.  However Ashok gives us a  message that come what may  we can still retain oúr ‘ identity’ in a fast changing world.

These shoes were made for walking…….and when you need to look after them:

Just contact Ashok Karande, and he has  a solution for all ailments that affect ‘ leather shoes’, laced with some humour if you have time for a chat.


( Interesting characters of Matharpacady village, ….to showcase the traditions of more than 150 years old Heritage precinct… a tourist attraction , specially for the passengers of the Cruise liners)

PS: This blog has been reposted to include Our Mochi’s real name and his pic, with permission.

The Struggle 


He never gave up. He was of mild build, with intense eyes. His school days were like any other boy of his age. He studied well and participated in games and did well in his exams.

But his struggle started in college. He suddenly discovered a sense of freedom. He was popular in the class. He took part in sports and even captained the hockey team. The girls in his class liked him and this is where he stumbled . He got so involved with sport and his special friends that he just could not balance his life between sport, study and friends.
His first year was good and he succeeded in doing well. A key point in his studies was the method involved. He had always studied from notes prepared by the teacher in school days. Now times had changed and in college he had to either make his own notes from class lectures and reference books or then take the help of guide books.
With no proper system in place he left things to the last and when the time for exams came up, he would just crash. He never knew what had hit him ; this seriously affected his performances in exams and later led to him not appearing for some exams.
The struggle went on, into professional college with several changes in the chosen streams.
His breakthrough came about when one day he visited the college library. He borrowed a text book and tried his hand at making his own notes . ……It was then that he tasted success. He never looked back and thereon persevered through several other challenges.
How did he make this breakthrough. Two things happened . He had a mother who prayed for him daily, through all his struggles. He too discovered that his time of prayer with the Lord actually helped him immensely, and he gave a minimum of one hour of his time in prayer with the Lord.
This very struggle helped him to persevere and never give up. In his very weakness he discovered a loving Heavenly Father. It was then that his life changed from being indecisive and helpless, to a more confident man. He went on facing every challenge in the strength of the Lord, “ when I am weak I am strong” (2Corinthians 12:10), thus taking every one of them in petition to the Lord.
He was blest to be lifted from nothing to something. He wore many caps and now faithfully serves the Lord. That man is the one who writes this about his struggle and the result!!!