On things that spark joy

One of the earliest instances I recall wanting something, desperately wanting something, was when I was first at a Clinique counter.

Published: 22nd November 2021 08:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2021 08:35 AM   |  A+A-

One of the earliest instances I recall wanting something, desperately wanting something, was when I was first at a Clinique counter. My mum had taken me along to restock her night cream, and the visit ended with my face in hot, sticky tears. All I wanted, correction — needed, was 3 lipsticks. They were glossy shades of pink, red, and orange. I was probably ten, but I needed them. Shamefully, perhaps, but I did. 
“You need medicine when you’re sick. You’re ten. You’re too young for makeup, and definitely don’t need lipstick.” “But… I. Love. Them,” I said, crying through hiccups. “You should never love something that won’t love you back.” 

I have now learned that this is one of my mother’s favourite things to say. She’s big on the idea that material objects aren’t things you could love. But I promise you: I did love objects. I still do. And while I’d like to think that simply looking at jewellery, cosmetics and handbags brings me as much joy as owning them, it doesn’t. 

When I see an alluring product, something very physical happens to me (it starts in my stomach) and in an almost regimental fashion, my obsessive process begins. First, I take a photo for my records. If I’m still thinking about it the next day, I search for it online. Look at reviews, speak to a friend, and dig up some research. If there’s a sale on the horizon, I try to wait, and am sometimes successful. 

As you can probably imagine, I do have a hard time identifying the difference between a want and a need. How does anyone define a need, really? What if I consider it a hobby?

It’s only very rarely that I find a product that checks both boxes, wants and needs, even keeping the most judicious shoppers in mind. The most recent ones being a cute pair of cat earrings with a tiny little adorable emerald on his tail, and the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. A god-send in colder months, this formula falls somewhere between a balm and a cream. It works absolute magic by slowly melting into your lips overnight, reversing damage, and ensuring you wake up with supple, hydrated lips — as dewy as a blade of grass after fresh-fallen rain.

I wish there was a wholesome end to this story where my shopping problem was cured — a point at which I found a solution to not needing things. I recently skimmed through Marie Kondo’s book, who suggests you keep only the things that spark joy. But what if you’re able to find a lot of things that spark joy? I mean, a cat with an emerald tail? What’s more joyful than that?


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp