Post Covid, I have become more selective about what I purchase. Illustrative picture Image Credit: Agency

I went to meet Amrita, a close friend of mine, after ages. As we sat down to enjoy a cup of tea, she quipped, her voice tempered with myriad emotions, “These are not just ordinary cups and saucers. Hence, I pulled them out to celebrate our reunion today. This tea-set teaches me a life lesson.” The bone china cups and saucers were exquisite. It dated back to her mother’s wedding and dower, her brother had gifted this set to her along with a pair of gold earrings, with his first salary.

Pastel pink with semi-spiral, fluted patterns on the sides, as delicate as sea shells. “And so many sentiments flow within the soul of the tea-set -- Ma’s memory of her wedding day, her brother’s first earnings and the filial love. I don’t think that Ma ever drank out of it, cannot even remember if anybody did. Sacrilege would be committed if they did so. It held pride of place in the crockery cabinet even after many changes of address. Gradually the pretty pink faded away, the cups developed cracks.”

After her mother passed away, Amrita began using the set. These were two of the unused cups and the saucers still standing. That day we drank to the spirit of friendship, love and momentary bliss! The “special day” that we wait for, to use all those objects that we treasure, isn’t it an elusive idea?

It’s like that first snowflake of winter, on the window sill that we hold in the palm of our hand with admiration in our eyes and before we know it, melts away to liquefied nothingness. Or that last dewdrop of autumn, gently caressing the window pane before it disappears. No, we have to find something special in the present day-today, now.

My friend, Sana’s husband had a penchant for shoes, he bought a pair that his favourite actor wore and endorsed, after much vacillation. Self-indulgence and guilt were synonymous. But after buying it he would keep the shoes in the swanky packet that came with it and waited for a special occasion to wear them.

The shoes still lay within their fancy wrapping, however, the man who bought them fell victim to Covid-19. Sana clutches them affectionately and a tad crossly, and sadly states, “Let’s relish what we love ‘today’ because nobody knows what tomorrow will bring forth.”

The pandemic has accentuated this feeling of uncertainty. Today, as I go through my wardrobe, I find so many clothes that are brand new, waiting to catch a glimpse of the outside world. The pair of earrings that I feel needs an extraordinary ambience to be done justice to remain ensconced in a pretty velvet case, untouched, unused. Then it dawns on me that these are possessions that I have bought for the delight of my soul, so why do I need to wait for the external validation of that ‘day-extraordinaire’.

The precious collection of ink pens that lay carefully wrapped in the cosy cocoon of a box have been taken out and used. I thought that I’ll use them someday to write a tome or sign that precious book contract. Today I penned a poem with one, in my journal and then went on to jot down my grocery list with another!

Post Covid, the shopping sprees have been kept at bay, as I become way more selective about what I purchase. I have begun attaching a note to the gifts that I buy for my friends, “Use and wear this today, because the “now” is what we have for real.”

Enjoy what you admire … use it, savour it, finish it because you cannot take it with you and others may not be able to care for it the way you do, they may not even wish to.

Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Gurgaon, India Twitter: @VpNavanita