22-Mar-2015

The make-believe bag

Place – The casino at Monaco

Scene – A young couple, standing in front of the slot machines, mindful about how rich the interiors are and how suddenly their clothes seem a tad shabby. Everyone seems to be flaunting atleast one designer piece. 

Ten minutes later, the couple emerges from the casino, heady with their winnings at the slot machines. 

‘Get yourself a nice, designer bag’ the guy grins. 

‘I will’ the girl grins.

Five minutes later, they walk out of the first shop realising that 240 euros is a pittance to shop in a place of this kind. Nevertheless, she manages to find a small but lovely, blush-coloured, calf skin Longchamp bag. 

Over the years, she uses it sparingly, bring it out for special occasions. 

When the baby comes, she stops using the bag. A big and roomy mommy bag that can be guarded against spit-ups seems a better choice. 

The baby becomes a toddler and get his own bag and wants to tot it around everywhere. Including to the birthday party of the 4-year old that he has been invited for that morning.

She notices the lovely, blush-coloured, calf-skin Longchamp bag in her cupboard and decides the time has come to use it again. 

She carries the bag to the enormous indoor play area that has been hired for the morning and greets everyone and watches her toddler disappear into the crowd. He loves the make-believe sections containing a mini-super market, a dress-up corner with all sorts of costumes and so on. He plunges into this fantasy world and grabs the child-sized versions of all the things he is forbidden to touch in the adult world. 

She keeps her bag with the other bags and starts mingling with the guests.

The time goes by. 

She turns around to do her usual check on her toddler and notices him sitting at the cash counter of the mini-supermarket and grins and turns away before something catches her eye. Standing at the cash counter with a mini-trolley with fake groceries is a four-year old girl carrying a familiar-looking bag.

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My eyes widened ‘That can’t be my lovely, blush-coloured, calf-skin, Longchamp bag surely’

But it was!!

I cut the swiftest path through the crowd and told the girl that she had my bag and it was not a toy and could she please return it. 

If you have tried to explain logic to a toddler, you would know that it is next to impossible. Not to mention, an agitated Indian accent (mine) does not work very well for communicating with a British kid. 

Nevertheless, I decided that this was not a time to negotiate and explain. I repeated my story politely and before she could protest, took the bag away from her. She look a bit startled but then moved on. 

I checked my bag, saw there was no damage, heaved a sigh of relief and worked my way back into the crowd and got back to my conversation.

My mind was wandering though. 

I could not really blame the poor kid. I had after all left the bag unattended and she obviously was too young to know that lovely, blush-coloured, calf-skin Longchamp bags don’t come in make-believe children’s play areas. 

Then suddenly, the girl was back. In the arms of her enraged looking mother. 

‘Excuse me’, the mother began ‘but my daughter was playing with the bag and you took the bag away from her’

I was flabbergasted. 

This lady actually thought that I had taken a toy bag away from her four-year old so that I could hold it in my hands and chat with other adults. Was she serious! Was she crazy?

To my credit, I kept an even temper and dangled the bag in front of her face. 

Surely she would be smart enough to recognize a lovely, blush-coloured, calf-skin..oh you know. 

But no! She insisted that I give the bag to her girl. 

I then explained to her that the bag was not a toy and it actually belonged to me and if she could see inside (helpfully opening the bag for her), she would be able to spot my wallet, iphone and keys – all real, I assured her. 

Luckily the lady backed off. Just as well since I would have probably brought the bag hard on her otherwise. 

‘Honey’ she told her snotty-faced, teary-eyed kid ‘that is actually the lady’s bag. It is not a toy’

And then with nary an apology, she walked away. Instead I was the one muttering away about how kids can sometimes be mistaken etc etc. 

I am probably poor at dealing with four year olds. I never thought I was poor at dealing with adults, but apparently when it comes to aggressive moms, I am. 

But most of all, I was a bit put off by the fact that my bag is special only to me and in the world of Louis Vuittons and Pradas, is not a particularly expensive piece either. 

Nevertheless, the bag has been returned to its dustbag, and it still retains its status as a luxury. Though the next time, I will probably hold onto it instead of leaving it lying around.