As the group began to cross the heavily trafficked road, one of the flaps from the old pair of leather sandals Mr. Mukherjee was wearing came undone. But he kept on walking even after crossing the road, somehow managing the damaged one. Soon his friends would take him to a nearby shoe store and buy him a new pair. But Mr. Mukherjee kept the old pair, instead of discarding. Soon he would locate a street-cobbler who was able to repair the damaged piece. For Mr. Mukherjee, this old pair of sandals represented his modest upbringing in past. He along with all his ex-comrades belonged to the first generation of India’s children of independence. They were all born in the first decade of India’s freedom from two hundred years of occupation by an imperial power. In their childhood, the country was still a poor third world nation attempting to rebuild itself, not a regional superpower of modern times. Their parents had brought them up with available meager means, en route to their later successes in life.
After saying good-bye to his friends that evening, Mr. Mukherjee embarked on a pre-planned trip through various countries in South-East Asia. Wearing his reconstructed old pair of sandals, he climbed the tallest temple in Angkor Wat, explored the killing fields of Phnom Penh from genocidal ex-dictator Pol Pot era, enjoyed a boat trip in the mystic Mekong River in Laos, and roamed around the Thai Royal Palace in Bangkok.
On his way back to US, Mr. Mukherjee needed to make an overnight stop in Calcutta for his airlines connection. He came out of the airport and headed towards the Chowringhee Road. His now enlightened pair of sandals needed to cross that road one more time to complete its karma's full circle.