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Let me apologize at the outset itself for inflicting my dirty old pair of shoes on you all, on this, the last day of 2013. But before me is a task I have set myself, of paying a tribute to them before the year ends, and tributes as you well know go down better if accompanied by a picture of the one in whose honor it is written. Hence the shoes, adorning my post.

By the way, let me make a correction to what I said initially. My shoes may be, nay ARE, dirty, having gathered dust, dirt and what-not over the miles (and miles) they have traveled, but they aren’t really old, not in human years anyways, though they can well be pretty decrepit in shoe-years come to think of it. Suffice to say these pair of shoes of mine having traveled far and wide, much farther and wider than I had ever secretly hoped to, and so are admittedly a grimy, grubby pair.

I bet when they sat so proudly on display in the Bata Showroom at Vellayambalam, they had no idea whose feet it were that would go into their mouth. It turned out that it was I who thrust her feet in and declared they fit, perfectly.

Well umm… I have confession to make at this point. It was not as if it was love at first sight, oh no Siree, no. There was another pair that really spoke to me with it’s visual appeal, and to be frank, they fit just as well too. My choice was made, based not on noble sentiments, but for purely selfish reasons. This pair ahem, made me look  *cough cough splutter splutter* ever-so-slightly taller. Don’t you dare snigger. At a measly 5 feet, and no inches mind you, one has to grab whatever millimeter comes one’s way if one wants to avoid looking like a midget that has stopped growing somewhere before she hit the double digit in years.

That is just what I did, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and asked the salesman to bill it. Not that one? the L & M had asked pointing to the other. I shook my head and replied firmly, No, this one, not revealing the reason behind the decision.

When I walked home there was this niggling thought that troubled me. Hadn’t the other pair been more comfortable? Had I just sacrificed comfort for a few millimeters, in height? But all such doubts were laid to rest when after wearing them for a couple of times we found we gelled together wonderfully. They just became a part of me and that’s the sort of relationship one looks for in anything, anywhere, isn’t it? What could be better than that?

Whatever the initial reason might have been for choosing this pair, they have stood solidly beneath me, carrying my considerable weight along the way with nary a whimper as we moved as one from place to place. And what places they were! New-Delhi, Shimla, Hyderabad, Wayanad, Kochi, not to mention Kuala Lumpur, Bali, and California. The year started off with me flying to Malaysia and then going off to Bali. Then there was a lull when I took things easy (read nowhere I could manage to go), except for a small hop over to Kochi. But soon it was New Delhi-Chandigarh-Shimla for the blogger trip, and back. This was soon followed by a flight to San Francisco and a month with the First Born. Yosemite, Big Sur and such were visited while there. Back to India again, Wayanad called and I heeded, even climbing all the way to see the Edakkal Cave. Hyderabad came next on the list, a week with the Second Born and also an evening with blogger friends. ALL the while who was my constant companion, who adorned my feet, rather who protected it? No prizes for guessing that one.

The time has now come to honorably retire my lucky pair of shoes. They have lost shape and squish when I walk, protesting that they can no longer keep up with me. Just the thought fills me with dread. What if a new pair turn out unlucky and I never travel anywhere or some such thing? But this post is not about my qualms. It is about thanking the one who brought me so much of travel-luck. There is nothing I love more than traveling, and that’s what we did, together. So here’s to you,  loyal, lovely companion of my travels, for taking me places!