Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The bead bag

The story of the bead bag begins way back in 1976 when my family- mom, dad, brother and a 10-year old me, were on a trip to Hong Kong. My mom bought several colourful bead bags to gift to relatives and friends back home. The bags were more or less similar, ladies' multipurpose fabric drawstring bags with colourful beads pasted in attractive patterns on a black background- chirping birds on a tree, dancing peacocks, galloping deers. By and by, most of the bags were gifted except the bag with the pattern of the galloping deers. For some reason this particular bag stayed with my mom, unused, for the next thirty years. It was one among many of her 'prized possessions', objects which she found too pretty to use. All such purchases were looked at and admired every once in a while, replaced in the polythene they were kept in and stashed away in her special cupboard for 'dene-lene ka saaman'.

Thirty years later, in June 2006, I was visiting my mom with my husband and kids. During our brief stay with her, she fell ill and was advised immediate surgery for which we decided to bring her back to Gurgaon with us. Somehow the colourful bead bag made its way into her hurriedly-packed suitcase. The thought being that she would gift it to Nishita, her grand-daughter and my neice, who would now be visiting her 'dadi' in Gurgaon rather than in Mumbai.
One thing led to another. Mom's health deteriorated beyond anyone's worst nightmare. She battled cancer and it's related side effects. Health and recovery took precedence over thoughts of passing on the bead bag. Once in a while she did mention that I should use it. But the bag stayed in a corner of her cupboard shelf. And that is where it stayed when the end came ten months later.
Feeling an attachment for the bead bag I kept it for myself. She had wanted me to keep it, I reasoned to myself. It took me a year or so before I actually got around to using it. And the first time I slung it on my shoulder, the fabric strap gave way due to decay. Disappointed and remorseful, I put it back into the cupboard. Till one day I got a brain wave and decided to replace the fabric straps with cane handles from an old bag. Voila! The bead bag was now ready to be used in it's new 'avataar'.
And that is how I have been using it ever since.
Each time I have taken it out, people have remarked at it's beauty and uniqueness. Children have loved the colourful galloping deers on it. Strangers have complimented me for carrying 'such an attractive bag'. The compliments I have received for that bag have not ceased.
And when people ask me about where I got it from, I always enjoy telling them the entire story.
The bead bag has taught me an invaluable lesson.
I have learnt to multiply the value of all 'prized possessios' by sharing them with the whole world. I have learnt to multiply my joys bymaking everybody a part of them.
I believe that the reason my mom wanted me to keep the bag for myself was because she was sure I would spread beauty and joy in the world by using her bead bag.


  1. Mudita didi- this brought tears to my eyes. Very well written. Missed Mausi and her lovely ways...Vatsala

  2. Amazing.. and having been one of the lucky ones to have actually seen it and felt it.. cannot think of words to describe the sentiments arising from reading your endearing description.. so simply worded yet so profound.. looking forward to hearing more...

    love, deepa

  3. a beautiful piece you have written..bringing tears and hope to all of us..those who leave us also leave behind beautiful memories to feel their presence around us..

  4. lovely article... talking about Sita Aunty...I still miss celebrating my b'day with her....same day..just a few years gap!!!...

  5. Mudita,

    I am sorry to hear about your mother. May God bless her soul with peace and strength to all to bear the loss. You have rightly summed up that one should share happiness as it increases manifold that way.

    Take care

  6. hi mudita,

    i am a friend of harshit. he had mentioned your blog a while back and i took a look this week. it's been quite a delight reading your articles, perhaps even more so, since i know some of the 'characters' who figure in them. do keep writing, please and let us keep enjoying them. bhaskar