Building a bond with the bags
Once I was at the airport, waiting for the security check. Before me was an elderly woman, whose purse was setting the alarm off each time it passed through the scanner. The officer who emptied the contents let out a soft chuckle. There was a pair of tweezers, a cuticle pusher, a drawstring pin, a big hair curler, a stapler, a bottle opener, a big bunch of keys, six pens and what not. The lady was, however, not ready to part with them, but the matter was settled when she was assured that all her knick-knacks would be returned to her at her port of arrival.
Had the officer been a woman, he would not have taken long to understand that women’s purses and the things inside meant the world to them, and the unimaginable little items were of utmost importance. Only they could tell the difference between a satchel, a sling, a clutch and a tote bag. Men, on the other hand, would certainly be at sea if you gave them something bigger than their wallets to handle.
My mother used to have this jadu ka pitara (magic box), which contained a long list of things which we might need, just in case. So we had band aids, Vicks tablets, a small torch, hand towel, energy bars, liquid soap, a small diary and safety pins even when we went to a cinema hall.
Once my grandma misplaced her dentures and my mother started hunting in her purse. Well, many a lost-and-found stories have been solved in a lady’s bag. The only dampener is when others lose patience while she is digging into it.
I too have been fastidious about my bond with my bags. Right from the time when I carried the envelope-shaped pochette in college, to the large shoulder bag that I now carry, the pleasures of the purse have been aplenty. In fact, with the passage of time, the contents of my bag have changed. Earlier, a lip balm, a comb and a tissue sufficed, but now my confidence level rises with the portable cupboard tucked under my elbow. You can also find a measuring tape in it, as I am on the lookout for buying furniture.
A senior Customs officer, who was a good friend, would tell us stories about how they would catch contraband by looking at the travel bags of passengers. He said if the person was dishevelled, and the items in his bag were very neat, then something was amiss. On a lighter note, he said, if you want to know a woman’s age, look into her purse.
The purse was undoubtedly a treasure trove, a proud possession, which we carried around with aplomb. It was our closest pal, no matter what age we were. It sometimes became heavy and cumbersome, but its benefits were many. Believe me, if you were marooned on an island, it would be a lot easier if you had the company of a woman with a large purse.