I had been eye-ing a red bag in Hidesign since months.

It was not always the same bag, but it was always red.

Once again, I went in to the store, and saw the perfect red messenger bag. I took it carefully off the lurching mannequin, and slid it over my shoulder. One hasty look at the mirror, one covert look, one over the shoulder look and I dropped the bag, and walked out. A few steps away, and I turned back to look at the store, wistfully. The bag was calling out to me.

I wanted Teja and Dhanno to convince me, either to buy the bag or forget it. They were tapping their feet, and clicking their fingers, and looking everywhere but at me.

I said: “It would look too much, no? Everyone would say, an old woman carrying a red bag.”

Dhanno said: “But that’s what you would be, isn’t it? An old woman carrying a red bag. So how does it matter?”

What I had wanted her to say was: “But you are not old, Mama!”

There’s not much to be said for dinning ‘honesty is the best policy’ into your child at a tender age. Because sooner or later, she hands it back to you. I let out a sigh and took a couple of steps towards the store again. Then sighed and turned back.

Teja, knowing well that the sighs if ignored, threatened to take over our domestic arrangements over the next few days, said: “Why don’t you just get it?”

I said: “Yeah. I can probably use it for a few more years. Then I’ll be older. And that will be just be too old for a red bag.”

Teja said: “You’ll never be too old for a red bag.”

Dhanno said: “Yeah, as if. You are never going to give up your jhataak pink, are you? Or purple? Or yellow?”

I grinned.

This time, I ignored the swinging of the mannequin and grabbed my bag from its shoulder and marched with it to the cash counter. Anyone could see that the red bag was going to give me graces Nature had not conferred on me.

With flamingo-pink rainy sandals, and my tomato-red messenger bag, I made quite a fashion statement on my last documentary shoot. Specially when I teamed them with my lime-green capris and rose-pink lipstick.

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