We bongs’ love to travel. At least a couple of times a year we pack our things and get out to explore the unknown – to the mountains, to the sea, or sometimes to just spend few days with grandparents or extended family. And travelling involves elaborate packing. When we were kids’ mom used to pack our things in two huge suitcases, one that was given to my parents when they got married and the other one, they bought later. She would pack our clothes, shoes, woollens if we were headed to the hills, toys, books snacks and what not. Covered in thick canvas cases those suitcases lasted for years. I think one of the suitcases is still lying somewhere in our loft with unwanted things packed in.
Travelling was always so much fun. Mom would pack till late ensuring she didn’t forget anything. My sisters and I, perched on the bed, would look at her with glee and excitedly discuss the forthcoming trip. In the morning we would set out, fly to Kolkata and then take a train from there. While waiting at the station we would comfortably sit on the suitcases, munching biscuits while our parents would have hot khullad chai.
There were no fancy travel bags and cases in those days. There were sturdy suitcases, there were trunks and simple canvas holdalls that would wrap in small mattresses and pillows. We would carry these holdalls with us for long train journeys. Railways didn’t provide beddings then. We would spread bed sheets on first-class compartment berth, lean on pillows and make ourselves comfortable, staring out of the window of the moving train, sometimes singing aloud.
Trunks mostly came handy when we were moving from one city to another. Those huge metal boxes safely housed all our belongings. Be it utensils, furnishings, books or toys, we could carefully pack our world in those trunks. Back home, a big black trunk and a smaller yellow one are still carefully kept, filled with memories and whiff of the past. Those travel cases didn’t particularly look good, but they served the purpose. No one ever imagined that look even mattered as long as they safely carried our stuff from one place to another.
But then came VIP followed by so many other local and international players luring us with trendy travel cases and bags. Somehow look became more as important as functionality. I remember when I went to the hostel, I demanded a new VIP suitcase. Travel cases and travel accessories are so trendy now, they come in so many different colours, shapes and sizes, with smart compartments and pockets. Unlike our no-frill all-purpose suitcases, we have overnight travel bags, suitcases for business trips and leisure trips and then there are trekking cases, beach bags etc. But we dare not sit on them coz, unlike those sturdy old suitcases these stylish cases can’t bear the burden of our weight. They don’t last forever, but who cares, we get tired of them anyway. For, travelling is not just about gathering experiences anymore, it’s also about showing off our stylish travel cases and accessories. We like to make an impression you see.
So, as I embarked on my first trip in 2021, I decided to pick up a new travel case and step out in style. After being indoors for a while, I intend to explore the world as much as possible this year and I do hope that my travel cases and suitcases will match my step!