Not a gram more, not a gram less


My annual trip to India is coming to a close, and we are heading home tonight.  I am seated on the floor cross-legged, with many suitcases for company. I have shopped without remorse, like there’s no tomorrow.  This gluttony repeats itself every year, as I justify to anyone who cares to listen that I visit only once a year, and hence need to shop this much!!

The shopping has piled up like a bonfire mound.  I am trying to sort it out and pack intelligently.  My husband walks in and I can sense an argument brewing.

He asks me to remove the tags from all the clothes, as they may unnecessarily add to the weight.  I nod, and go snip snip.  Each dress has many tags, one with the price, one with extra buttons, one with the brand, one which assures you of quality.  Soon, another pile builds up.

My daughter walks in and looks at the tags, and announces that she will start a tag collection.

I start packing, my husband watches, hawk-like.  He keeps reminding me that we are only allowed 20 kg per person as check-in baggage.  What’s in the shopping pile looks like 100 kg at least!

We are four, so 80 kg should go through.  I have my books, I cannot leave those, I cannot leave anything that I have bought.

I pack and unpack, clothes and footwear, pickles and powders, books and more books, clothes for the children, books for the children….I am slowly losing it.

Somehow I fit it all in.  Now the real fun starts.  My husband brings the weighing scale and starts weighing.  I play assistant and note down the weights:

Big blue bag – 23 kg

Big Brown suitcase – 25 kg

Small brown suitcase – 21 kg

Black bag – 26 kg

My husband starts removing stuff that he thinks I will not require.  I am frantic, I am unable to choose, I absolutely need those things.  I hop about as he asks me if I plan to open a clothes franchise, when I get home.

All the surplus luggage gets into the hand baggage.  He mercilessly removes my precious books. When he is not looking, I stuff 3 books into my tote.  My daughter walks in with her neatly arranged tag collection.  She asks if we can pack this precious collection.

My husband wants some leeway with the weight of each bag, just in case our weighing machine and the airport weighing machine do not show the same weight.  One more round of pruning happens.  I cannot add any more.

Not a gram more, not a gram less!

The bags are packed and locked and rolled away.  I look at the things I have had to leave behind.  I whine.  Nobody hears me.

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25 Responses to Not a gram more, not a gram less

  1. dezignsrain says:

    Wow, story of every home, narrated so beautifully reminding me of my last home trip……

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sastha says:

    Wonderfully narrated!

    Your title reminds me of a book by Jeffery Archer called ‘Not a penny more, not a penny less,’ I think it was his first book. I read it quite a number of years back. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cudn’t stop smiling & visualizing. Story of every family visiting hometown. Very well written, Nirmala.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah yes, the baggage weight dilemma. Were it not for the fact that the husband’s bag allows for 20 kg, I’d suggest leaving him behind but of course, I’m kidding. 😉 I thought you were allowed closer to 25 kg?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. katelon says:

    So you don’t check any bags? Is it too costly to just ship stuff home? I have travel coming up in my future and I’m not the best at packing and of course, like you, would accrue more stuff on my trip, so I don’t relish this weight issue. I like checking bags though, as I don’t like to have to man-handle bags into overhead compartments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nimi naren says:

      Thank you. We do check-in bags. Allowance per person ranges between 20 and 25 kg. Hand baggage allowance is 7 kg per person, which like you said we try to avoid as it is cumbersome to lug onto the flight. Shipping is an expensive proposition, unless it is furniture or some such thing, which can’t be taken on the flight

      Liked by 1 person

  6. bhagu says:

    Hey.very well written.it’s the story of all…but nobody think that we can narrate this so beautifully..well done dear.I enjoyed it.thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Remember my first trip to US where I had to buy gifts for every uncle, aunt and cousins. The circus of packing, weighing, unpacking and moving it to handbag. Wearing 3 layer jackets and filling every pocket 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Manjula says:

    Reminds me of our trips, trying to emotionally blackmail my husband in the name of kids and father – in- law that they would be hurt if we left something back home but heart within hearts would want every single thing to be carried that has been bought.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Can totally relate to this… it is worse if you are travelling alone… you then carry stuff for everyone at home and whatever you want is left behind / unbought 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ellen Hawley says:

    I do remember arriving at an airport with a bag that was slightly overweight. I took out a book and put in in my backpack. That made everything just fine. Of course, it went on the same plane, so same total weight. I’m sure there’s some logic in it somewhere, but it escapes me. I’d think it had to do with not wanting the baggage handlers to heave overweight bags, but since the airline’s happy to have them heave them as long as the passenger pays extra–nope, that’s not the reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Funny and true. My husband gives me the same look!

    Liked by 1 person

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