Claimer: This article has been written after long careful research and analysis and all the facts included here have been derived from true events. Any resemblance to anybody doing anything can be coincidental, accidental, incidental or just pure dental and I am responsible for such instances. After reading the post people may lodge their complaints, launch protests, take morchas at their own will and wish and I will not object. TIMES NOW and H today are most welcome to conduct debates, big fights, small fights, NDTV and CNN-IBN to have talk shows, walk shows, fake shows to discuss extradition of KB to Timbuktu. Women’s rights organizations can rename me from King Bull to Kilman Bushdie and release Fat-wahs against me. And this is not a disclaimer.
This is about one of the most utilized, versatile, simple yet most fashionable product man has ever invented and is still unable to do any significant improvement on it due to various obvious reasons you would find out in here.
Women’s most useful, dearest, indispensible and emotionally close product – Yes, I am talking about the one and only Bagwati. (courtesy: Farhan Akhtar).
BAGwati aka Ladies handbag.
Bagwati is very attractive from outside, has one big mouth on the top, couple of zips on each side, a short belted handle and/or a long shoulder belt. It comes with few badges, brand logos, artificial stud stones, chains, rings, etc. as external decoration. It is made of numerous materials starting from simple rexine to chinese panda leather - at least that’s what the salesman says. (Question to ponder: Why is it all handbag sales persons are men?).
As the target customer is female, 90% of material cost of the bag goes to the outside and 5% goes to the frame structure and 5% to the zip and other stuff.
Criteria for purchase? Brand and Looks. Brand used to be the top criteria in the 80’s and 90’s, which has been overtaken by ‘looks’ in this century, mainly due to overcrowded branded market and wide-spread reach of market as well as use-and-throw culture. It should ‘look’ different. Different than the ones that neighbourhood ladies have, the different than the ones that college mates have, different than those colleagues have. Color, texture, decorations, studdings, hangings, shape, size – everything matters. Everything must be different. Seen the ad featuring KKK? (Kareena Kapoor Khan)? She portrays so beautifully how she needs a black bag, and ends up picking up an Orange bag. Not BLaaaaa ack, just black. I loved it. Lesson: If you want to sell an Orange Bag, keep one next to ten Black bags.!
Now, let us get inside. Inside the bag I mean. It generally has a single large compartment, sometimes divided into two equal compartments, with a small secret chamber at each side with a prominent zip to announce the location of these chambers. Some bags have a side chamber for keeping quick access things, which most of the times are left there for ever, forgotten.
Over centuries the handbag has been made with just one big compartment with one big mouth at the top to open and close. Things get thrown in there and gets retrieved usually with a massive search-and-retrieve operation by five fingers, when there is a need. Unlike men’s brief cases where you have so many partitions and pouches with a place for each thing. While things that could go into men’s briefcase have been defined and easy to identify, things that go into women’s handbag are numerous and indefinable. That brings me to present you a list though not exhaustive, but detailed enough of what you can find inside a women’s handbag.
The list is not in any order as there can be no ‘order’ per say:
- Cell phone. – latest and the previous one. Cell phone cover lies separate inside. Also spent SIM card and the pouch of the card. Cell phone strap - also lies separate.
- Keys – car keys, house keys, shelf keys – these do not stay on one key chain and invariably house key comes out when you need car keys.
- Clips, safety pins, Hair bands, Hairpins – These only gets thrown in and not taken out for any use. Whenever such an article is needed, it is obtained from bedside table, under the pillows, bathroom shelf etc.
- Wrist watches – these are not on the wrists mostly due to one of the following reasons – not matching with the dress or ear rings or bracelets. So gets shoved in the handbag, resulting in asking someone for time, every time.
- Ear rings, bracelets, bangles, necklaces, lockets – gold or artificial. No I am not talking about the dressing table - those ones are in sets generally still inside their original packs, while these are in numbers, under use, in vogue so to speak.
- Bindis – many bindi pouches with one or two left over in each. Though bindi culture is not in vogue with young gen, this applies to more matured ladies (No, I didn’t say older…).
- Lipsticks, eye liners, hand creams, face creams, deos, perfumes, talc powders, hair colors, Vaseline, Crack cream, Moov, Tiger Balms or Axe oils. Now each of them could be present more than one, half spent or nearly spent. Different brands and sizes too can be found at the same time. Who knows when the need would arise for what?
- Tissues – facial and hand tissues. These come in a pack of ten or fifteen. After few gets pulled out, the pack breaks and remaining tissues gets lost inside like a Khoyaa huaa bachcha in mela. Many times spent tissues are kept inside the bag as there is no place to throw right after use. Of course, not to forget the periodicals.
- Credit cards, Debit cards, Membership cards for Life Style Big Bazaar, RMKVs, Chennai Silks and Umpteen different shopping arcades. Also previous expired credit and debit cards could be found. Also you will find business cards of variety of people varying from beauty parlors spreading across all the way to gyms, KFCs, Saree shops, Soch’s, Mochi’s and Begum’s. But every time Life Style guy asks for membership card, he ends up locating membership number using the Mobile number.
- ATM receipts, Credit card bills, shopping invoices, bank and insurance statements. These pile up inside the bag until next bag arrives and thereafter remains there permanently.
- Fliers handed at mall entrances. Talking about fliers, unlike men who brutally refuse to take fliers, women find it so awkward to refuse fliers or throw it away, so invariably it goes into the handbag and remains there for ever!
- Mini tools like nail clippers, foot scrapers, small scissors, razors. Again it is not quite easy to access these tools when she needs it, so ask somebody, preferably men nearby for such article who can easily extend theirs in no time. Besides most of the times need for such tools would not arise, otherwise, how would boutiques and parlors survive without manicuring and pedicuring?
- Cash. I have always wondered why RBI has to print out so many lakhs of Rupee notes every year until I observed the way cash is kept inside a ladies handbag. Man, have a pity on the note. It gets first folded into four folds and gets thrown into the handbag along with so many hard articles listed above and gets continuously grinded until its turn comes to be pulled out to be given to a flower vendor or at a toll booth. There could be a separate mini-purse for cash alone, but it generally does not contain cash.
- Pepper Sprays – Ajeeb thing about Pepper Spray is it is not reachable when it is needed the most!!! See how -When an attacker confronts a woman, she immediately puts her hand into the handbag and the guy is confused as to what she is going to pull out, ranging from a gun to a cell phone. She feels around inside the compartment among hundreds of items to pull out one that could closely feel like the pepper spray container, which could be anything ranging from a Deo can to Age Miracle cream to a Biotique heal cream bottle that looks like a hand grenade. It gives the attacker either shivers through his spine and he runs away or ample time to launch the attack. 99 out of 100 times, a peanut vendor or flower seller lady walks into the scene and attacker drops the idea and moves away. And on reaching home, she tries to find out where did the Stupid Goddamn Pepper Spray had gone, only to find that it had been kept in the side zipper, for ‘quick access!’.
While all efforts have been made by my team to make the above list all inclusive,things not listed are not necessarily excluded.
While men’s briefcases and laptop has a specific place and it always goes there, ladies handbags do not have that rule. It finds a place anywhere in the house. You can find it on the couch, desk, side table, center table, dining table, kitchen worktop, sitting on the fridge, washing machine, microwave oven, top of shelf, bedside table, on the bed itself (Once I sat on the rug on my bed to hear a wafer cracking sound, only to find a handbag below with 5000 Rupees Fendi frameless Super Cool Sun Glasses broken! It was my fault.). Also you can find these hanging from clothe hanger, Shelf handle and the car backseat. Why not somebody invents a handbag voice activated with a range of about 100 feet, which can trigger loud alarm on the owner’s voice call. No, a remote control like car remote key will not work, as the key also most of the times would find itself inside the same handbag.
What is the life of a handbag? It varies from few weeks to few months, not any time more than a year. Depends on how soon a colleague or neighbour or a relative buys herself a better looking handbag and the next hand bag will have pre-requisite set by that buy. No there is one more curious thing you would like to know. When a new handbag is bought, you would think that all the things from the previous (no I wouldn’t dare to call it old) bag gets transferred into the new bag and the new bag gets commissioned. You are very wrong. When the new bag gets commissioned, only essential things (essential meaning what comes to mind as necessary at that time) gets transferred and new bag is commissioned. Previous bag gets shoved in the wardrobe. Over next few days each things comes to mind as necessary and slowly gets retrieved from old bag to new bag. Finally more than 50% of the stuffs are left over in the old bag permanently and never required in the new bag!
And what happens to the old bag? It remains in the shelf, along with the collection of previous handbags slowly acquiring antique value. It has become too old and out of fashion to give to somebody and there is no soul on the earth to buy a second hand (!) ladies handbag.
Now that you’ve had the lessons, few questions:
1. Why ladies handbag cannot have more partitions, compartments, holder pouches for different things like a brief case?
2. Why a ladies handbag cannot be kept in a particular place in house or office?
3. Why ladies handbag cannot be ‘housekeeped’ periodically?
Men’ briefcase – A place for everything and everything in it’s place!
Ladies’ handbag – A place for everything and everything in that place!!