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53. Bapu, The Cobbler
Once during a conversation, Vallabhbhai said to Bapu, “There used to be a good cobbler over here. But they are hard to find these days, so I sent away my shoes”. Bapu replied, “I would have fetched some leather and tried if I can still use the skill I learnt. You know that I used to make very good shoes. A sample of my feat has been kept in Sodpur’s Khadi Pratishthan (institute). Sorabji Adajania had been here. Satyanand loved him deeply. So Adajania wrote me, “I would like you to make a pair of shoes for Satyanand.” I did send him one, but the extremely modest Bengali person as he was, he said, ‘these shoes are not be worn; they are to be worshipped.’ He never used them. He preserved them and then sent them to Khadi Pratishthan’s museum.” Mahadevbhai had just finished writing new chapters of autobiography for Oxford University, the same day. Bapu checked all of them.
On remembering this incident Bapu said, “Mahadev, why is there no mention of my shoe making anywhere in this brief edition? It ought to be there. It was a good occupation at the Tolstoy farm. I made shoes for so many children there. Kalenbech had learnt it at the Trapist Monastry and then taught me.”