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.