The bag of tricks

The bag of tricks

"Here is my saviour!" she declared and asked for the water bottle and biscuits.

Most of the time, I carry a capacious bag into which go a 250 ml bottle of water, some tissues, a tiny bottle of sanitiser, a couple of band-aids,  a small tube of moisturiser,  house keys and, of course, my wallet. If it is a situation where I may be kept waiting, I carry a book and a packet of biscuits as well.

And nowadays, when there can be downpour at any time, I include a foldable umbrella also. This arrangement works well for me because I am used to lugging around only one thing, even if it happens to be quite large. Any additional item such as a box or a carry bag, I am likely to forget it. So I don’t trust myself to carry any other package.

My constant companion comes in for quite a bit of ridicule. It is referred to as a ‘hold-all’ or, worse, ‘a bag of tricks’. But that doesn’t deter people from taking advantage of the old reliable.

The other day, we were invited to a house warming. The area was back-of-beyond. It was an early morning ceremony after which breakfast was to be served. MTR was the caterer so I was sure of sustenance. Hence, I left out the biscuit packet but took the water bottle along as it was the peak of summer.

Bengaluru traffic being what it is, we were delayed. The moment I stepped into the house, my sister greeted me as if I were a prodigal. “Here is my saviour!” she declared and asked for the water bottle. After a couple of swigs, she asked,” Can you pass the biscuit packet? Breakfast is behind schedule and I am ravenous.” I confessed that I hadn’t brought one.

“How remiss of you!” she scolded. I hadn’t thought it was necessary when a sumptuous breakfast awaited me and said as much. At this point, her daughter intervened. “Why don’t you carry what you need, Amma?” she asked reasonably. Like a politician, my sister avoided an answer. Instead, she said, “Padma always carries nourishment and water.” The daughter shook her head helplessly, as if to say her mother is the giddy limit. Well, she is.

Fortunately, breakfast was announced just then. Since it was only a small family affair consisting of about twenty people, all of us sat together and made merry. The hearty meal concluded with filter coffee. No South Indian celebration is complete without being given ‘thamboolam’ (a platter comprising coconut, banana, betel leaves and arecanuts).

At this function, all were put into a neat pouch bag. My niece handed over a bag to her mother. She turned expectantly to me. “Give me a carry bag to put these things in, she demanded.“I don’t have one,” I admitted.

“You are falling into bad ways. First you forget to bring a biscuit packet and now you deny me a bag,” she accused. For sheer audacity, she has no equal.

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