The Love Bag(gage)

Before leaving for Pondicherry, I went shopping for a small backpack. I didn’t want to carry a huge backpack all over Pondicherry as if I was on a trek. I am bad at shopping. I somewhat hate it. Why? I go looking for, say a bag, which makes me say “Yes, this is what I want.” I won’t have anything particular on my mind until I see “the thing.” But then, I won’t buy anything else if I don’t find “the thing.” So, there I was roaming all over the local market searching for one small backpack to take with on a leisure trip. You see, I don’t prefer buying stuff online.

After wandering for about two kilometres looking for “the bag” I went to a small shop that had displayed bags of all kinds. I went in and asked the shopkeeper for a small backpack big enough to carry a water bottle, an umbrella, wallet and a book, all I need to get through any day. The shopkeeper understood what kind of backpack I needed and showed me few designs and I kept asking him if he had any other designs apart from what he had already shown. That’s when he showed a black-coloured backpack with LOVE printed all over, with a heart shape replacing the O.

My mind went berserk looking at that backpack. As per me, LOVE had gone overboard with those prints and I felt like I would look like a despo if I were to carry it around. LOVE that would make you happy for as long as it can. LOVE that makes you dream like stupid. LOVE that makes you think you must be having a hormonal imbalance. LOVE that kills you from within. LOVE that makes even palpitations to be romantic. LOVE that makes you dart towards your mobile phone every time it buzzes announcing the arrival of a message. LOVE that makes you look at everything from a new perspective. LOVE that sometimes finds no way. LOVE that often laughs at you years later. LOVE that leaves you numb. My mind snapped out of the trance when it registered the shopkeeper still talking about how good the bag is. I finally asked him if I can remove the LOVE prints using turpentine or a paint thinner. He said no and the print stays. I sighed telling him I don’t want that backpack and started to get out of the now claustrophobic shop. The shopkeeper was by then grumbling about me saying I was passing time at his shop and didn’t want to really buy anything as if I had rejected his love and not just his LOVE bag. While I was getting out from there, the shopkeeper’s partner came in and offered the Rs.1000 worth bag for Rs.650. I thought for a second and was as though I was thinking about buying his LOVE for Rs.650. Knowing very well he wouldn’t sell it for any lesser price, I asked if he would give for Rs.500. As expected, he declined. I walked away having escaped from the burden. My mind had the last laugh.

It is a different story I found a small backpack in Pondicherry, the one that was just the way I wanted, the one that made me say “Yes, this is what I want” and that too at Rs.650. A simple small brown-coloured backpack, sans prints and motifs or embroideries, and a water bottle, an umbrella, wallet and a book could easily fit into it. It could easily compete and win over Bagwati of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Moreover, it looked good on me. Yay! I bought it without bargaining. It felt like I had all the LOVE in the world without LOVE written all over in bold letters, contrasting colours and heart shapes. Me and my mind.

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