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its all in baggage

baggage, bag

Its all in Baggage

Every human being seems to have something special about the bag he or she carries. I for one know that I feel quite incomplete inside the bus if I don’t have my bag with me. I won’t feel the same incompleteness even though there is no beautiful face in the bus. Even every beautiful face can now be understood by the baggage that accompanies it. The identity and attitude always come out, if not from covered face, then from the accompanying luggage.

In the morning when the world is still lost in the fairyland, an old uncle drags through our lane with a tiny ‘pishwi’ a custom-made bag made out of cloth. The specialty of this Pishwi is that, the old uncle uses to store all the flowers he plucks from the trees in our neighbourhood. No one in our locality takes him for a thief as they know his motives from the pishwi he carries. After our drags out of our lane, the next entrants are the ‘Doodhwala’s who carry the milk bags in their ‘basta’s. These Bastas are made out of jute and are very strongly knitted by the kite-thread. These basta’s are so strong that our doodhwala carries around fifty milk-bags in two such bastas. It’s the strongest handbag I always appreciated and there was a time when I was tempted to buy one such bag when I was in 6th standard. The load that I had to carry to class room was so much that I felt I should rather go for that basta as I thought I can fit the ten note books, 6 syllabus books, the three-storey tiffin( ya the tiffins were a blessing in disguise in schools. For carrying so much of load, my mother felt I should have more food and hence I got a larger tiffin. Three storey means three layered tiffins with rice in the ground flour, subji in first and chapattis in the top floor). Any way. My father stopped me from buying one bastas and suggested if I can buy a sack carried by porters. It hurt and instructed as well. I then shifted to a book-sharing model with my friend who was also suffering from the same baggage issue. Our friendship grew as the baggage was shared. That friendship is still quite there and not the part of my ‘baggage’. But that is a diversion. Anyway.

As the Sun ascends and shadows shorten, the collegian flocks start jamming on the road with uproar of horns and whistles and car-decks. This is where I get to see the collegian sacks riding every back. Even here there are various categories of sacks for various reasons. The usual bulky sacks with enough load carriage are restricted to sincere students and almost absent from this crowd. Hence the classrooms must be silent places where teachers can come and take a nap in this college. Trendier the sack, its surely for decoration of the body and less for study purposes. Here the girls have beaten the buys by a margin as there are denims, the ones with a look of teddy and all in pinkish colours. Boys haven’t still come out of the denim bags which gives a ‘rough-n-tough’ feel. The boys are still boys and not coming of age here. Pretty discouraging…hmmm

As the lectures start and crowd settles inside classroom, the usual vendors start appealing the residents to taste their offerings. The vegetable vendors come with unique topli made out of bamboo grass. The best purses I have ever seen are the ones with our bhajiwali. She tucks her purse I her nine yard sari. That purse has almost six pockets and she keeps a photo of her deity in one, coins in second and remaining for the rupee notes. In the last pocket she keeps her Choona-Tobacco. It is such a great purse and there is no scope for a pick-pocket as she tucks it below the belly.

Moving on from vegetable vendors to the usual boharins. Boharins are the descendants of age-old barter system. They exchange utensils for clothes. They carry a huge amount of baggage and it is all well packaged. One of our family-boharins carries almost 30 utensils in the topli she carries on her head. The clothes are crammed in a separate baggage and are hung over her shoulders in godhadi’s.(Godhadi is a recycled version of six to seven torn saris woven into one thick unit. They are quite warm and useful in chilly winters)

What seems obvious is that everyone carries his luggage in the way he appreciate life. Collegian girls as usual go for chirpy vibrant colors and guys opt for cowboyish denims. The officers carry a hand-bag and workers carry pouches. Senior citizens carry pishwis. In senior citizens as well I can say that the ones into philosophy go for saffron bags and the non-believers carry any branded bag. But senior ladies always opt for woolen bags, and this is a national phenomenon. The batwas carried by Chhabutai on busy Laxmi road in Pune and the ones with Kokilabens in Baroda may differ in sizes, but are always woolen. Wool is style statement for all the senior ladies in India. (Marketers are you there?)

What we can also know from the baggage is the emotional status. Otherwise why the classical journos would be related with the shabnams and why the sadhu-bairagees would be associated with Jholas? Why a bollywood heroin carries upmarket purses when she is in love and why she carries tatters after she breaks-up with her heart-throb? Its all in bags and none is the excusable.

Wear your bag, wear your attitude!
Published: 2006-08-28
Author: Aniket Kavathekar

About the author or the publisher
I am an engineer with passion for writing. That led me to a PG in Mass Communications from Sysmbiosis,Pune. I work as Marketing Communications executive, where again my core job is writing and creative conceptualizing. Business apart, I have been writing in Marathi as well. The writings are generally experimental and are from seemingly mundane incidences. Simplicity is the most complicated and tough thing to achieve...in life as much in writing. I keep my writing simple and straight.

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