“Come on in! What are you doing here so early in the morning? Would you like some coffee?”
“No, thanks! Ravi left for the States this morning. My friends and I went to see him off.”
“I’m sure that made him very happy. Nice pair of sandals, by the way! When did you get them?”
“Thank you! Bought them a couple of weeks ago. They were on sale.”
“They look pretty cool. I’m sure some of your friends turned green when they saw you wearing them this morning.”
“Turned green? Why would they turn green? They weren’t sick or anything.”
“When you say that someone turned green, what you’re suggesting is that the individual became extremely jealous of something. In this case, your sandals. Here’s another example.
My neighbour turned green when he saw me driving my new car.”
“My colleague turned green when he heard that I’d been given a raise.”
“That’s a good example. The expression was coined and made famous by Shakespeare.”
“I see. Ravi turned green when he heard that I’d performed much better than him on the CAT exam.”
“That happened nearly ten years ago. And that was perhaps the only time you did better than him. Anyway, what did your friends have to say about your new sandals?”
“I don’t think anyone noticed them. Why would anyone look at my feet?”
“Some people do, you know. How are they? Are they comfortable?”
“Right now, they certainly aren’t. The’ve been biting me all morning. Maybe, I should…”
“Biting you? You mean pinching you, don’t you?”
“I always thought it was ‘bite’. Shoes bite, don’t they?”
“In many Indian languages, we talk about chappals, sandals and shoes ‘biting’ us. But in English, these different kinds of footwear ‘pinch’, and not ‘bite’. I need to remove my shoes. They’ve been pinching me all morning.”
“It’s not surprising that they are pinching you, They look too small for you.”
“That’s not true. It’s the size I usually buy. It’s probably going to take some time for me to break them in.”
“Break your shoes in? What are you talking about? How can anyone break their shoe?”
“You’re not breaking the shoes, you’re breaking them in. When you break your shoes in, you wear them for short periods of time till you begin to feel comfortable in them.”
“I see. So you don’t wear them all day, but for an hour so?”
“It could be just a few minutes to begin with. I think this pair will be great once I’ve broken them in.”
“ It took me nearly a week to break my sandals in.
How does that sound?”
“Sounds good. The expression can be used with other things as well. It took me nearly six months to break my batting gloves in.”
“That’s because you play cricket so infrequently. How about this example?
It takes me time to break my jeans in.”
“That’s a very good example. The last pair I bought took me no time at all. I broke them in, in a week’s time.”
I’m like every other woman: a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear. So I wear jeans.