Probably your cell-phone, keys and wallet. And perhaps a jacket, coz it’s cold these days. And if you’re a woman, then add other paraphernalia like lipstick, moisturizer, compact, and so on and so forth.
I carry my jhola. What’s a jhola, you ask?
It’s a sling bag kinda thing that you wear on your shoulder. Something that initially journalists used to carry, and then it started coming in a variety of colors and artwork so it became a huge hit with the teenagers as well. While khadi dominated the scene then, now jholas are mostly found in exquisite Rajasthani prints with chamki (=glitter).
That was the easy part. Now comes the challenge. Describing what it means to me, and unfolding its contents and uses.
My jhola’s an extension of my personality. (Ya, I know I said this blog is also one of those. But you see, everything I do is very ME...) So, my jhola - I can’t live without it. Anywhere I go, my jhola goes with me. For the last 4+ years. Be it Optimos where my colleagues identified me with the chhan-chhan of my anklet and the sparkle of my glittering jhola, or college where I carried a bunch of sheets with a pen to take lengthy Psych notes.
The market’s full of shops and boutiques that sell trendy ladies bags in all colors and sizes. I’m amazed at my Bhabi who recently returned from a shopping spree with a Dalmatian-shaded purse and huge black and gold handbag! Eww... Not my type by a long shot...
Come to think of it, I cannot remember ever having been an out-and-out feminine creature at any point in my life. I have those few recollections when I have enjoyed getting decked up in finery for some occasions and celebrations (like my brother’s wedding for instance, when jeans and tops were forsaken for heavy brocades and expensive silks). But otherwise, ask my friends and colleagues, and they’ll scratch their heads when asked to recall the last time I wore a Punjabi dress.
I’ve always been a tomboy. No nakhras-jhatkas for me. Right from my no-nonsense hairstyle to my clothes to my mannerisms. (That was the case until fairly recently. Then, God knows how and when and why, I changed my ways and started buying more lady-like dresses and acting more womanish. Grew my hair, started wearing earrings. Some crazy hormonal change, I guess... Anyway, I’m not complaining. And from what I can see, no one else is, either!)
But hey, weren’t we talking about my jhola?
Right, so my jhola is my inseparable possession. What’s in it? Well, not much. It holds my purse and keys, my Vaseline lip-balm and comb (leme peep in and check what else...) Uhh... ya, a pen at times, and that’s about it.
Oh! My cell-phone (how can I forget that?!) and maybe a lip-gloss depending on where am headed. And as I ride a bike, it is also big enough to accommodate my jacket and scarf. That’s all.
(That IS all, I said...)
The best part about carrying a jhola is that it’s trendy and practical at the same time. I can wear it diagonally as I walk fast to get someplace, and I can hold it fashionably by the side as I hang out at a coffee bar. When you’re lost among strangers, a jhola gives you the perfect excuse to dive in and search fervidly for nothing at all for a precious 5 minutes. And when you’re trying to act cool, you can finger the strap and just look around...
A jhola NEVER lets you down. Trust me.
The moment I put my hand in my jhola (just about 15 times an hour), you know I’m spinning in the abyss of mystery. On no account can I find what I want. If I’m looking for my cell, out comes my comb, and if I’m searching for my keys, out peeps the Vaseline. It’s basically something like Ali Baba’s potli (did he have one? Or was it someone else? Whatever... I can dimly vision “Potli baba ki” flashing on DD = Doordarshan every Sunday morning. And remember “Gucche” and “Chitrahaar”? Good ol’ days!)
Uh huh... Ranting and digressing again... But the point is, that jhola’s the way to go. You can carry it to work and parties, and you can wear it on jeans and salwars. Jholas look good in pink and yellow, and they also fit into your two-wheeler dickeys with ease. Girls at 10 and women at 40, jholas aren't a burden on the pocket, and neither on your shoulder. In short, I’ve thought it out, and I’ve given it the ISI mark, so go ahead and get one (if you don’t have one already). I think they look better on women, but you guys can get it for your girls and try them in fronta the mirror, just to see if they suit you... (Dunno much about metrosexual and other preferences. No offence.)
Having said that, I must say I need a new jhola, too. My first one from Sarojini Nagar – Delhi gave way to Bhabi’s gift (again from the capital), and now it’s tearing at the seams. Can’t part with it just yet... Washed it the day before coz a stupid attendant at the petrol pump doused it with fuel while filling the tank. Silly bugger...
Have a good week, buddies!