The Purse And Its Association With A Woman’s Life

Usually all women carry and love purses. But here, the author takes us through her life's journey with all the purses she have had. 

Usually all women carry and love purses. But here, the author takes us through her life’s journey with all the purses she have had. 

There are very few moments which make you realize that your life has come a full circle. These are the moments when you lose a part of your life, yet what you achieve is far more enriching and overwhelming. In the company of your children and grandchildren, the moments leave your eyes moist and your heart heavy.

Just yesterday, we had planned a one-day outing to Mahabaleshwar. Me, my son Rahul, daughter-in-law Pooja and our little munchkin Aarav were all ready to leave by 7.30 in the morning. By habit, I took my purse I had packed last night with some basic essentials. I was just about to get out of our home when Rahul asked “Purse kashala gheteys? (why are you carrying that heavy purse?) Just give it to Pooja”. Before I could even think, Rahul had taken my purse and handed it over to Pooja. She took it and lightly slung it over her own shoulder.

We got inside the car and Rahul started driving. But I was fidgeting and restless. It was the first time – I don’t know in how many years – that I was without my purse. I was so free. Unknowingly I moved my hands to touch it or hold it out of habit. But there was no weight of the purse on my lap.  I felt light. But I also felt strangely void. I was not used to feeling like this since a very long time. The feeling was tucked away somewhere in the past about to be forgotten. My constant companion for so many years, the witness to my life and all of its upheavals – The Purse – was not with me anymore. It felt odd. Yet it was strangely soothing.

The first time I had a purse was during my college. It was a rough and tough, canvas handbag – just the right one for college. It was a new phase, new place, new friends, new independence and the new purse. The purse was more for the zeal and enthusiasm than a fashion statement. It carried hair pins, rubber bands, sometimes books, my diary, pen and some cash as well.

When I started my first job, I purchased a new purse with my own money. Then it was pride and an achievement. The rough and tough hand bag gave way to a more sophisticated, actual purse. It was pure leather. It then contained separate valet for money, some makeup, a comb, lot of chocolates, the PAN card and keys of my Luna.

I got married and the purse got heavier. It occasionally contained the list of grocery, keys to my home, pieces of paper for important tasks, a small diary for phone numbers, my watch and some loose cash. No makeup anymore but safety pins, broken earrings, bindi packet and what not. When we traveled outdoors, it also contained my husband’s valet and a napkin.

I became a mother and it was no more just a purse. It was a mini travel bag with a pair of clothes, nappies, milk and water bottles and some medicine for my baby. It was not sophisticated any more but domesticated. It was now a little weary from the edges as the weight kept on piling. No leather, it was cotton or nylon.

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My kids grew older and with them me and my purse as well. It now had a case for my spectacles, a separate compartment for my medicines and a small bottle of Zandu balm. It now also had a debit card and a driving license. Sometimes, it carried a shawl or a scarf. It was little smaller in size but the belts were still strong to carry the weight. It was leather. But a humble one.

For all these years, the purse had been a witness to my social, financial, domestic and emotional existence. A mirror to my life.  My entire world was squeezed in that tiny space. My necessities, my dependencies, my possessions and my pride all was there. It also had a separate compartment of my own space. It had the handkerchief which had wiped my tears during the time of crisis and had wiped my sweat often when I was tired.

And yesterday, my son had so casually asked me to just drop it off. He had transferred the ‘weight’ so effortlessly to his wife and I was left with a whole lighter shoulder. Now they both are my new purses with my Adhaar Card, debit card and the diary of my phone numbers as well.

For the entire trip, I just had the weight of my grandson on my lap. My daughter-in-law had closed the zip of my purse. But I was unable to zip the purse of my heavy heart.

Image Source – Pexels

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