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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Any takers for socks?

Vikramdeep Johal, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 24, 2014
First Published: 09:38 IST(24/8/2014) | Last Updated: 09:41 IST(24/8/2014)

The more desperate you are, the more desperately you turn to your sole-mate. I learnt this golden truth in my childhood, while watching The Gold Rush. This Charlie Chaplin starrer was one of the few English movies I managed to understand in those days (because it had no dialogues). In a classic scene, the Little Fellow, starving and stranded in a shack during a blizzard, casually removes one of his shoes, boils it and then starts devouring it, minus the nails, as if it’s chicken or mutton.

In between, he gobbles up the shoelaces, just like noodles.

Cut to 2014. Another desperate man turns to his shoe. This protester/publicity-seeker/mischief-monger pulls one off during a state-level function and hurls it towards a certain chief minister.

The projectile falls way short of its target, but the damage has been done, the touchy powers-that-be have felt insulted. Then the police take charge, ever ready to do ‘sewa’ with a smile. The ‘interrorogation’ begins…

While Charlie’s ‘last resort’ still seems to be a fresh and mouth-watering idea, shoe-hurling has become a cliché in our restless world, too predictable to excite the masses and too risky to be tried again and again. I appeal to all potential boot-throwers: Just don’t do it. It’s not worth all the trouble. Instead, I offer you a new ‘weapon’ of mass distraction: the humble socks.

The best thing about them is their feel-good factor, being pleasantly associated with Christmas gifts, jingle bells and Santa Claus. Unlike shoes, which are often lethal when airborne, socks are featherweight and won’t even hurt a fly. And even if the foolproof security tells you to remove your footwear outside a public function’s venue, you still have your foot innerwear to drive the point home. But first, it’s vital to have socks suited for the occasion. Freshly-cleaned ones won’t do - it has to be a pair that hasn’t seen a washing machine for at least a month. Ideally, both A and B sides should have been worn equally, so that even the user can’t make out whether their colour is black or blue.

The groundwork done, it’s time to perform on the big stage, for the sake of job reservation, forest preservation or whatever-ation. While the VVIP is in the middle of his speech, just peel one off and coolly throw it towards him. It won’t go far and will soon softly, silently glide towards the ground. But the ‘big bang’ will be caused by the foul smell, which will repel everybody around you.

People will quickly pinch their noses, as if somebody’s done you-know-what, and you can do it too (I mean pinch your nose, not the other thing).

Having made your statement with all the bad odour, you should now get ready to leave the spot. Just hold your other, no-less-smelly sock so tightly and menacingly that nobody will dare to come anywhere near you. Thus, you can make your exit, unharmed.

In the worst-case scenario, the pollution control guys might haul you up for spreading poisonous gases into the already low-quality air. But you can argue that you mistook ‘the great leader with a flowing white beard’ for Santa Claus and merely wanted your socks filled with your wishlist items.

In case they wonder why you brought such a filthy pair, just ask innocently: “When the whole system stinks and sucks, why single out my poor little socks?”

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