The Indian city of Mumbai, a place where you can walk past skyscrapers and drive on busy roads, has become the epicentre of a craze for affordable, natural pedicurings.
Pedicures are available on demand for just a few hundred rupees ($6.80).
Some people wear them while others buy them in bulk to sell for a big markup.
A few weeks ago, I was walking home alone with my son when a man wearing a grey cap and a white shirt came up behind me and said he wanted a pedi.
“You can have it, I’ll give you my price,” he said.
It was an easy sell.
The man handed me the bottle and said it would take 10 minutes to get it to me.
As soon as I opened the bottle, I saw a man with a huge scar on his forehead and the words: “Cant wait no more”.
He was about to go home, but he decided to wait.
When the price of the pedi was agreed upon, the man walked away with the bottle.
“I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to be a pedis-taker’,” said Raju, a young man.
A lot of pedicurs do it to raise money for charity.
For them, the idea is to make a profit by selling pedicured parts and making money for themselves.
“There are no health risks, so there’s no concern for the environment,” said Shanti, a pediologist at a local hospital who works with children and adolescents.
Shanti said the price is set at a fraction of the average price of pedis in India.
Pedi is a local term for a cut or a small piece of wood or plastic.
It is often made by cutting a piece of plastic with a sharp knife and then sanding it to a smooth, rough surface.
Pedis are not usually sold in large quantities and they are often sold by the gram, which is about 30 to 50 rupees (about $6.00).
It is not known if the men who cut the plastic had any idea about the risk of infection.
The only risk is getting sick.
Pedics can also be dangerous.
They can be inserted into wounds or cause bleeding, and they can be swallowed by people.
“It is very easy to get infected,” said Amit, a paediatrician at a public hospital.
“A few of the boys in our ward have had to get stitches to remove the cut.”
I was waiting in a small group of people when a pedician called out to me, offering a small, one-sided pedicushion for 100 rupees.
“If you’re not careful, you can get into a serious situation,” he warned.
I did not know what to think.
Pediatricians in India often recommend the use of plastic to avoid infection.
I bought the pedicurus in large batches of 100.
The pedicurences are made of a hard, hard plastic called polypropylene (PP).
The material is made from a chemical called diatomaceous earth (a by-product of the manufacturing process) and is made in factories.
The PP is used in a number of industries, including plastic packaging, food packaging and clothing.
Plastic has also been linked to high rates of breast and cervical cancer, and is thought to cause birth defects.
But there are also concerns about the use.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that PPs are “generally recognized as safe” and that the agency “is aware of reports of adverse events”.
But the FDA said in an advisory on PPs in 2008 that they “may be more toxic than the food-grade materials commonly used in the packaging industry”.
In India, many pedicura shops are located in residential areas and often have little visibility.
I met some of them in the lobby of a local shopping mall, in the heart of Mumbai.
They offered me an orange-coloured plastic pedicour for just 300 rupees, which I gladly accepted.
A man in a white cap walked up to me and asked, “What are you going to do?”
I replied that I had to go to the dentist.
The dentist, who looked like a regular guy, said he had never seen a pedicalurist in his life.
“He will get a bad tooth if he doesn’t give you the right treatment,” he told me.
I had a few days of dental work before the dentist finally got me in the office and told me he had to take care of my pain.
“This is my first pedicuro,” I said, feeling grateful for the dentist’s professionalism.
I also received a small injection of the local anaesthetic.
“Your teeth are hurting?” he asked.
I told him that I didn