It was a moral failing. Buying a camel-colored, fake leather jacket. In a tourist-stricken souk of Morocco. During the peak summer month of July when the temperatures soar to 50 degrees Celsius.
I am not sure what came over me. A strong fit of materialism. Perhaps. Or pure greed. I still can't rationalize it. But I got attached to this fake leather jacket, which now hangs like a lifeless ostrich in my wardrobe, even before I owned it.
The material felt as good as plastic. It showed the promise of adding a new dimension of claustrophobia to my armpits. In a bidding war, it could be marketed as a hyper-functional corset that restricts all arm and shoulder movement.
And yet I bought it. With immense joy. At a price that could have been easily slashed to half of what I paid.
But none of that mattered at the time. For I saw this non-breathable object as a manifestation of my new image. Or the one I so whimsically constructed in my head in that instant.
Photo Credit: Mona Singh
Even in all its fakeness, the jacket exuded a very obvious sporty, biker-like persona. It had this unapologetic air of carefreeness to it. That I wanted to embody.
A new set of values. A different personality. No matter how temporary or uncomfortable it seemed. I saw myself feeling liberated in that jacket.
Buying new feelings
This was about three years ago when I was brainwashed by the evil idea of how things can define us. Shape our habits. Mould our personalities. Or that we are, to a large extent, what we possess. You can know more about a man by looking at the things he owns than going out on a date with him. And bla bla...
To cut a long story short, I wasn't enlightened enough. Back then. Or even now. I only take solace in the fact that I am not a terminal materialist - someone who buys stuff to impress others.
I just irrationally attach feelings or far-fetched goals with objects I purchase. I am what the professors may call an instrumental materialist - someone who perceives an object as a bridge to another person or to another feeling.
Over the years I have come to realise that whatever I have bought with the intent of re-modelling myself, or my image, has either found a place in my attic or has been poorly used for purposes other than it was meant to serve.
Show some chutzpah
My two-year old prances around the house in my red stilettos that have lost their sheen by sitting too long under my canvas shoes. They were meant to encourage me to dress up/party more often.
A second-hand golf set that sits in one corner of our living room has never seen a golf course in the last seven years. It is used as a prop to cover the chipped paint and a conversation-filler in times of painful boredom.
There is also plenty of forgotten stuff that is buried in my attic - feelings of joy and despair are tightly packed in boxes that haven't been touched in months, if not years.
Many of them are stark reminders of failed or misplaced goals. Aspirations. Wicked emotional phases. Immaturity. Arrogance. Evolution.
Someday I believe I will be able to let it go. All of it.
Until then, I am hanging on to the fake leather jacket that still resides in my wardrobe. Waiting for me to show some chutzpah. And embody that feeling of being free.