The Skates

My 3year old niece just started learning how to skate. We saw a video of her zooming around the skating rink in her brand new pink and purple inline skates, slightly wobbly but getting there.
Dad smiled a little thinking about his own childhood days when he used to skate around town. “These days you have these in-line skates which need that smooth surface, back in the old days I had iron skates which I could even take out on the roads”, he said.
I remember those skates: heavy, made of iron and with tan leather traps. They had a screw in the base to fix the length of the skate to your foot size. You placed your shoe on the skate, adjusted the front and back placeholders and screwed the bolt tight, then you buckled the leather straps on top to hold your foot in place. The wheels were narrow and also made of iron. These were the types used by acrobats in those days.
I remember when Dad took them out when I must’ve been around 5, I took to them instantly and have faint memories of circling the 12 seater dining table so fast that the room was a blur. Can’t remember where those skates went but I know I put them to good use and only graduated to the modern inlines in my teenage years.
Dad recalled how he used to cycle all the way from his home in the north of the city to Hill Park in the center. The skates hung by their straps at his back. This was in the 60s when in Karachi there was only one skating rink in the city found at the top of Hill Park. Those were the days a ten or twelve year would safely cycle across the city, no worries of traffic or speeding cars as there were so few automobiles around.
Dad talked about how there was even a boy who came all the way from Lahore Karachi on skates. Only difference that his wheels were made of thick and wide rubber made for speed in straight line, unlike Dad’s skates which were made for sharp twists and turns.
As we rewound the video of my niece I wondered about my own childhood skating accomplishments which I could one day tell my niece all about.

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