There are certain bonds that secretly exist. A relationship that surpasses all human understanding. One such bonding is between an Indian man and his suitcase. A suitcase must be an inanimate object, worth a few hundreds, but this lifeless entity is seen as a treasure chest by his Indian owner, only empty.
Like many fellow Indians, we have more suitcases than people in our house. Hard suitcase, trolley suitcase, duffel bags, a smaller hard suitcase and an even smaller one for hand luggage, we have it all. We also have a few airbags, of all available and possible sizes. We keep them neatly covered in old lungis and dupattas, to be unveiled only prior to a scheduled journey. My father is very particular about such stately treatment of the suitcases. We don’t understand, he mocks.
Airline travel is not the preferred means of transport for us. More than the reason that for a family which decides to go on a vacation quite instantly, air charges are a bit off budget, it’s the fact that we cannot carry luggage beyond a certain limit that prevents us from choosing flights over trains. You cannot expect a Malayalee settled in Bhopal to visit his Kerala without a few cartons of Atta and a suitcase filled with 20 kilos of apples. That is just not us. So train it mostly is and this is where you can see my father’s boundless love for his mute suitcases. Even before his family can occupy the vacant seats that he booked on Tatkal, he brings out old newspapers and places them below each lower berth. Once this paper protection has been provided, the suitcases are gently placed on top of them, care taken that not even the handle touches the filthy place that is the Indian railway coach. Once they are all tucked in, every piece of luggage is tied to the next one with the help of metal chains so thick that no thief would ever consider stealing the treasure of petticoat and assorted pickles that is inside.
Our place is still abode to a grey suitcase that is as old as me. Bruised with time and covered in an army print suitcase cover, it sits above one of our wardrobes, watching as new additions are made to the family in the form of new suitcases. A glossy black American Tourister is our newest member . My father's love for suitcases goes so deep that he once bought two bottles of Johnnie Walker from the duty free shop at the Dubai airport only for the medium sized trolley suitcase that they were providing for free with it. There should be a soap opera on this subject.
So why am I writing about all this? Well, let’s just say that last week, during a short rail journey to a nearby city, I inadvertently started placing newspapers below the seat to place my humble VIP suitcase.
Turns out, suitcase love is a hereditary disease passed on to me. Thank you Dad. Thank you.
P.S- I missed regular blogging. Also, did you guys participate in the giveaway? It ends this 20th. CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE.