2019: One Hundred and Eighty

Another exchange tale beckons. It’s Dubai Summer Surprises, so you’re getting all these surprises for a reason (as am I, I promise).

I’m very attached to my suitcases. I only purchased one for myself last year, but prior to that, my parents bought me suitcases I would use on my travels. I travelled alone a lot, and I always have – so my luggage had to be something I was comfortable accessing, but also one that had the ability to stuff everything my parents wanted to send to India, and then everything my family wanted to send back to Dubai. I was a 5-year-old express courier service connecting places at a rate far more expensive than other courier services would charge. But I was more entertaining, so people didn’t mind.

My earliest memories stem from sharing spaces in Black and Navy Blue Delseys we owned. Shaped exactly like the old Delsey logo, those luggages had these handles on the side. We stuck RAO on the bottom to identify the bag, but there were always two: one dad’s and one mom’s, and a black Delsey duffel bag that was incredibly for all the paraphernalia we carried. Then I got a dark great Delsey soft-case luggage: a MASSIVE bag, which lasted a while. I identified that at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, because someone was stealing it away and had mistaken it for their own. That was a proud moment. I was 7 at the time. Or 8.

My dad’s a real suitcase aficionado. We’ve got different sizes of suitcases in our house, for different purposes, largely because my dad knows what different kinds of travel require. As a family, I ended up inheriting a business suitcase my dad once used, just because it was downright amazing. And for a while, we were all Victorinox users. Those Swiss Army/Swiss Original construction that were extremely durable, and launched luggage volume extensions far before others, we were instantly in love. All black suitcases, with TSA Swiss safety locks, and identifying ribbons (largely yellow, sometimes none), we became a family that used business luggage for personal travel – and loved it. They were classy.

My dad’s always had an eye for bags. He bought us some really high-quality, long-lasting stuff. Including my own school bagpack, which literally lasted me 7 years of school and is at home even today – I use it for sleepovers and such.

My mom’s always been more functional. Those Victorinox bags were heavy, and they have odd volumes – which aren’t enough for my mom at times. She broke the mould & moved off to American Tourister and back to Delsey. She even broke the mould of having black luggages, buying an electric blue one that is so easily distinguishable, it’s amazing.

I’m a mix-breed. I like functionality and lightweight stuff, but durability matters to me.

My old luggage tore. I denied it. But it tore. It was old. The handle was tearing too, and you could legitimately pretty much see into the suitcase without opening any zips, if you looked through the corner. We discovered this only while checking in at Bombay, and my dad shot me a look saying “that’s gotta go”.

It hit me then.

I was definitely going to let go of my suitcase once we got to Dubai. It was definitely going to get replaced for free, given its condition and given its lifetime warranty, but, it was going.

That’s countless flights: as a minor, as a major too. Innumerable cities. Camps. Memories.

One stands out though. My mom placed a googly-eyed sticker on the edge of my luggage, just before I went to college. It was her way of saying, wherever you go, I’ll be watching over you.

That was going away too.

In its place is a new bag.

A Victorinox. Slightly smaller. Black. Squarish. With a TSA Swiss lock.

It’s here.

We’re putting a googly-eyed sticker now too. And as we do, I’ll remember my parents are always watching over me irrespective of which city I’m in. But I’ll also remember that old Victorinox bag, which isn’t getting to see me go to these new places I’m about to visit.

I’ll miss you.

Here’s to you, new bag. Time to go places.

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