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The handbag mysteries

A woman's handbag can tell many a tale and quite rightly so.

Gulf News

The last time I changed my handbag was when I found a few things missing because of a small hole.

So, this time, before any such mishap, I decided it was 'time for change'.

A chic bag that resembled the one in the glossy cover of the magazine was welcomed into my life from one of those trendy fashion stores.

A woman's handbag can tell many a tale and quite rightly so. As I emptied the contents of my old bag and sorted them out before I stowed them into my latest accessory, I was transported in time.

There it was - the phone bill we had been looking for, a few months ago, my son's first flight ticket, my son's first train ticket, the toy bill, the grocery list that was written - I don't know when and the list goes on.

There were many visiting cards, whose owners I don't remember, phone numbers with no names that I had saved hoping I would remember sometime, wet wipes, tissue and of course, phone, ipod and hands free - I think, I could run a household out of a bag.

As I looked at all the precious things, memories flooded my brain. Yes, there were many stories hidden in that bag and I could reconstruct my life in bits for the last couple of years.

Meet my 'ma-in-law', a lady who is always found with her bag. The bag is almost like an extension of her body. Her humble bag accompanies her whereever she goes.

Once on a picnic, as I ate a plate of salad, I longed for some salt and lo! She extracted a small pouch of salt and pepper that she had picked up on a flight.

We were in need of a knife for cutting some fruit and she came to our aid with her Swiss knife that also doubled as a scissor and tripled as a screwdriver and had a bottle opener and many other things that I don't remember.

She has extra pouches of sugar, a general first aid kit and painkillers, hand cream, sunscreen lotion, cookies, toffees, extra handkerchiefs, toothpicks, a bottle of water and hair brush. I always wonder how she has always been able to fit all of those into her tiny little bag.

It is now the tradition in our family to ask her anything we need on our trips. She always has them with her. Wonder how she is able to figure out all our needs well before we actually need them.

She carries her bag with elan and never complains of its weight. She smiles as always even if she has to spare a stamp or glue stick, paper and a pen to write down the snail mail from her bag.

We do sometimes try to carry the bag for her but, the bag far outweighs our youthful shoulders. Age has caught up and it is becoming increasingly difficult for her yet, she chirps incessantly and pulls out the needful for anyone who needs it.

We always mock about her bag and ask her to forego it. We call it the ATM (Any Time Machine) because, we know in our hearts, there is something in there for all of us.

We also know deep in our hearts that the bag embodies her immense personality. She has lived her life true to the bag she carries - always there for anyone in need.

Yes, we are secretly happy not only because she carries the bag but also because she is our ATM in our house - the Any Time Mom. And yes, there must be an epic tale lurking inside that bag that is yet to be unravelled.

Sudha Subramanian is an independent writer based in the UAE.