Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Bagging a Lesson

Generally, I spend New Year’s Day, thinking of resolutions.
This year I spent it cleaning up my cupboard. It was an activity I’d been putting off for long.
Going through my cupboard, I realized just how much stuff I had gathered. Items that had attached themselves to me, things that I’d once taken a fancy to, and forgotten about. Things that I couldn’t throw away. What if I needed them the day after I threw them out?

With the Husband watching me, his hawk eye on high alert to make sure that the to-be-discarded items didn’t claw their way back in, I had no choice but to spring clean as if I really meant it.

And then I found a bag that my younger brother, M, had bought me from London. It was his first trip abroad and I was touched that he would think of me.

The bag was large, roomy, and voluminous. I could have carried my entire world in it.

When I first laid my eyes upon it, it shone. Bright. Glossy. Burnished to perfection. The two bag straps were made of three long strips of faux leather interlaced together to resemble thick braids.

That bag was a thing of beauty. Had there been a beauty pageant for large roomy bags, mine would have won, without having to make a speech about world poverty.

It was so chic and stately, I couldn’t bring myself to dilute its appeal by treating it as just another bag. There had to be a right occasion that would allow it to exhibit its exquisiteness.

Until that right occasion showed up, it would stay in storage, biding its time, like a debutante waiting to be properly introduced into Society.

I packed the bag in a polythene bag, and placed it in the cupboard, and forgot about it. For months it lay there, as life and its compulsions overtook me.

When M asked me whether I liked the bag, I told him that I loved it. It was the truth. When he asked me why I didn’t use it, I told him that I was waiting for the right occasion to flaunt it.

An occasion did present itself, along the way. But it wasn’t of the scale of grandeur that would befit the bag. Or so I thought. So I let it lie.
This New Year’s Day, I unwrapped the polythene covering, to have a look at my priceless possession. 

Shedding bits of skin, it looked wasted and sickly.

For a desperate moment, I wondered if I could still carry the bag around. What if I held the damaged side close to my body? But that was not the solution. The bag was once a thing of beauty. I could not subject it to a life of shame, as if it, not I, were to blame for its mottled, moulted skin.

I emptied the rich mahogany shavings of bag skin into the trash can, and gazed at the bag.

At my request, the Husband took a picture of the bag. 

I needed a reminder to live in the here and now, not to wait for some ephemeral date in the future when I would relish life. I needed a wake-up call to use what I had, things, talents, abilities.

Who knows how much time we have left?

The stuff we have must be used or else it will be ruined.

Our physical and mental abilities must be nurtured or else they will atrophy.

Even when it was unusable, that bag taught me a lesson.

I just hope I remember the lesson through 2014.

(This post has been written for the Weekly Challenge at Yeah Write.)


  1. Oh..putting a big ol' shiny sticker over it could have done the trick! :) Just kidding.
    This was a really good story with a lesson we all need to learn sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I had a set of dishes that I received as a wedding gift that stayed boxed up, saved for a special occasion. It took getting divorce and splitting possessions in half to prompt me to use them.

  3. What a wonderful lesson! I'm sorry you never got to use the bag, but at least it taught you something very valuable.

  4. Hi, Jen, I'd need to wrap the entire bag in a giant sticker. The picture isn't very clear. The bag has shed skin almost everywhere. I'm generally very thrifty, and I hate throwing good things away. So this was a lesson for me. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Hi Cynk, Ah, then you know the truth of the lesson first hand. Let's use everything we have. We don't know when it will be taken away.

  6. That's true, Erin. It did teach me a very valuable lesson. I was also disappointed because it was a gift from my kid brother to his big sister. And it was a big deal.

  7. You are right ! No one knows how much time he is left with.... Your bag is telling a story to all your readers. A similar thing happened to me too when I cleaned up all my cupboards after coming back from the hostel to my home, permanently. We collect things and memories come in handy ! Loved your post.

  8. My Aunt has a china cupboard of extremely expensive china. Every time she hosts a family dinner she uses it which throws my mother into a tizzy or worry that she'll break a piece.

    My Aunt always says, if you don't use it the glaze will just start to crack and then it will all be ruined.

  9. Thank you, Lala (shadowsofthedivine). I was the best candidate for this lesson. I am the kind that likes to save things for another day, instead of using them today.

  10. Your aunt is right, Vanessa. Her smartness must have saved her a great deal of trouble. Anyway, I have learned my lesson the hard way.

  11. Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

  12. This is a reminder we ALL need. I have saved many things for that "special occasion" and wound up throwing them away unused because they got old while waiting. It's a reminded about life, too. This IS the future and we need to live it. Excellent piece. Just super.

  13. Thank you, Marjorie, that is a well learned lesson too.

  14. Thank you for your kind comment, Marilyn. From now on, let us all try to use all we have right now, especially the good stuff, instead of saving everything for a special occasion.

  15. Really interesting, Cynthia. You hve really made a point with your piece. The way you connected your bag to our mind, wonderful.

  16. Really interesting, Cynthia. You hve really made a point with your piece. The way you connected your bag to our mind, wonderful.



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