Doth my toes offend thee?

There’s this terrific blog called ‘toemail’. It’s a pretty simple concept. People send in photos that include their feet, taken in different parts of the world, and write a story about the picture, and they’re published on the blog.

In some cases people just send in the picture and let it do the talking, without any words of explanation.

The theme of the blog is: “Pictures of toes, pictures of feet, making the world a better place one foot at a time.”

There’s photos of people’s toes on deserted country roads in Canada, toes on trains travelling across the US, toes next to a coconut on a deserted tropical beach in Fiji.

People send in photos of works of art featuring toes and statues with toes and backpackers with toes walking down a street in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

In some pictures the foot is the centre piece of the photo such as this one taken with a gnarly tree in the background in Macedonia and in others the toe is just incidental to the photo or part of the story such as this wonderful photo of a man in sandles carrying a huge load on his head down the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

And people get inventive and creative too, such as this photo of child’s school lunchbox with the sandwich shaped as feet.

So I thought I would get inventive too, sending in this photo (below) taken of my feet after a day spent walking the streets of Mumbai about two years ago:

I received a reply from the publishers of Toemail, to tell me that this picture would not be posted on the blog because: “close ups of dirty or injured feet we cannot post because it can be visually disturbing to someone who is opening the blog”.

So I’ve published it on my blog instead.

I agree it’s not the prettiest picture, but “visually disturbing” seemed a bit of a harsh description for a bit of mud and an uneven suntan.

Is anyone reading this now disturbed by this image?
Are you reaching for the sick bag?
Are your eyes offended?
Is it all too much?

If you’re not, here’s my little story about these feet:

On these muddy, sun-stained feet, the bearer walked along the bustling, congested, lively streets of Mumbai, passed old, grand crumbling colonial architecture from the days of British rule, through arcades lined with bookshops and restaurants where he ate delicious vegetarian thalis with the rice piled on a silver tray for about a dollar. These feet passed beggars and hustlers and lawyers with their wigs and briefcases and children dressed in clothes that looked straight out of the 1970s disco era.

These feet took respite in an air-conditioned department store with security guards glaring and later waited dutifully while his wife shopped for clothes along ‘fashion street’ a never-ending line of clothing stalls, each crammed with shorts and skirts and jeans and a man who could sell ice to eskimos.

These were the feet cut off in photographs taken by locals who wanted a picture of a pasty “white man” and his even pasiter white wife on their mantelpiece. These were the feet that walked along the famous Chowpati Beach, that rested on the sand as we looked out at the boats and the families talking and eating in little groups as the sun sank below the horizon, listening to the cries of the chai wallah and the ice-cream wallah and the man selling nuts in a cone.

These are the feet that climbed steep streets for a view of the bay of Mumbai with her fishing boats and bobbing litter and behind, the endless skyline of high-rises defining India’s richest city. These are the feet that walked through tropical gardens with plants sculptured into elephants and giraffes. That supported the bearer as he stopped to watch a school boy cricket match in the middle of the city, that rested in the cinema while locals danced in the aisles to a Bollywood movie.

And so I ask you again, doth my toes offend thee?

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