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  • Varsha Sinha

James - The Shoemaker

Blog Stories - People Called Shillong

The day seemed to be a frivolous one. In fact, it was as if the wind itself had been schmoozing around with the people.

James Syiemiong, had always been quite precocious and ambiguous all throughout his life. Labor, to him, was a thing of utmost joy. “ This is such a vocal world, where myth and rationality co-exist. Do you agree?” asked James.

Kanika, being a small town girl herself, found this place and this man very enthralling. “yes, indeed sir.” She replied. Kanika longed to know more. She was kind of blown away when she entered this little world of James. Was it joy? Or was it ecstasy? She wanted to figure it out soon.

“I never thought of shoe making as a passion though.” And as he spoke, Kanika saw a quixotic world in hi, much to his nocturnal eyes and tactless candor. She believed that creativity is like a web of scintillating thoughts, waiting to be put into words. “James must have been quite a prodigy, man!” she thought to herself. Shilling has always given her a very ‘rusty’ feeling of existence. Shilling made her feel much more closer to the earth-closer to the mud, the pebbles and the wise mountains. “are you liking it here in Shillong?” this was quite a solicitous question asked by James. “I do like everything about Shillong till now though. I guess I am still going to love this place even if it gives me a heavy baggage of rough times.” said Kanika.

Initially, when Kanika passed through his shop, she noticed a pair of gigantic heels on display, along with a certificate of Guinness world records. Dated, 2004. This is what is best about Shillong and its people. ‘down-to-earth’. This man, James Syiemiong, has been so famous, yet his shop and bonhomie gave Kanika a feeling of anomalous apparition, bound together by a sartorial rendition of fashion. The shop was messy, but that certainly added to James’s creativity!

Work is worship for him, indeed. The light at the other end of the tunnel seemed to be closer to him every day. “having the craze or I would say, a weirdly beautiful zeal to become someone in life is essential.” Said the witty man.

One of the world’s highest heels, which stands 43 cm tall, was designed by James Syiemiong. His smile seemed admonitory and soothing at the same time. Sitting in his cozy shop, Kanika could figure out, how in this pneumatic world, people carry their baggage, never letting them go. And Shillong seems to drag people out of their emotional vagrancy. “well, sometimes in life, being an anorak helps. I’ve always wanted to become somebody in this life which I’ve got and be unstoppable.” said the shoemaker.

James hails from qualapatty, a picturesque place close to Laitumkrah. His love for shoes grew when he was an adolescent, but he never thought that it would become his passion. His love for shoes had been growing gradually, with the passing years. “the idea of designing one of the highest heels came as a queer wave to me initially. People should love their work and that is very important to succeed in life. I love my work. I always have. I think that’s what keeps me going.” Said James. Shillong, to Kanika was like a beautiful blank slate, patient enough to take in her scribbled alphabets of experience. Fashion or even the love for it happened to be therapeutic for some too. Somehow or the other, this had struck Kanika’s mind when she met James. Of course. Initially, she had been totally gob smacked when she saw those heels. She herself had been fond of heels, though. “I feel heels can make a person feel empowered. I mean, come on! Who doesn’t want to look taller? Even guys would prefer wearing stilettos, if this cacophonic world permits them to!” he giggled. And just then. Kanika could feel her heart longing to hog onto all the cool leather boots and bags around her.

“this passion for shoe making has been a god’s gift indeed. So I started my very first shop, and named it ‘THEODORE’- god’s gift. Well, there is always that one hand which holds your life’s pinky finger, wherever you go, isn’t?” said the warm maverick. “did Cinderella’s glass slippers ever fascinate you?” asked Kanika. And a deep throated laugh followed the day.

So going down the lane, it was in the year, 2004, when James Syiemiong, had designed the highest heels, commercially available. 45 cm platforms and 51 cm heels, to be precise. He designed this beautiful ‘piece of art’ for

“We humans are unstoppable, I believe.” His words were utterly musky as him. “I want to focus on my work and just let my love for shoes take me wherever it wants!” said James. There are people on world, whose eyes sparkle, when they ramble about things that they are passionate about. And the thought of it makes them blush and stutter. James was one of them.

And so does THEODORE lives on, being the most trusted and modern shoe centre in Shillong. He presently employs quite a lot of workers, and had started another shoe shop, where he receives order from the people of neighboring states like Manipur, Mizoram and many others as well. However, in this beautifully sculpted town called Shillong, his art adds flavor to the air.

Beauty fades away, but the joy of it never does. And as Kanika stepped out of his world- the world of scribbled ideas, dreary pages and meticulously crafted stuffs, she knew that James found solace there. She found her story too, waiting to be told to her small world. And she thanked James.

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