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Black Suitcase

When the traveler starts to feel the suitcase as his home

By Naveed Published 2 months ago 3 min read
Black Suitcase
Photo by Shot By Marcsé on Unsplash

Writing can be quite the task, but yesterday, three thousand words flowed effortlessly onto the page, seemingly without struggle. A while back, deleting four words seemed an insurmountable challenge. Now, things seem back to their usual routine, the words flowing automatically. Despite a pounding headache today, the intention to rise and make tea is there, along with the necessity of taking medicine. Still, let this word find its place. If you’re feeling the same headache as you read this, may the page turn in your favor?

Today promises to be busy—two weeks back, the city changed, and today marks the shift from hotel to apartment. Luckily, the new place is nearby, facilitating the transfer of items without much fuss. The toothbrush, paste in hand, found its new spot effortlessly; the rest of the things don't need excessive packing.

Gone are the days of habitually unpacking the black suitcase whenever venturing somewhere new. Now, its contents stay put. A shirt is extracted, a quick tidy-up, and off we go. That suitcase feels like home—it’s the only constant, the one permanent fixture.

Goods are being relocated today, marking the transition from one roof to another, a temporary pause before the next move. These same belongings will return to that familiar suitcase, ready to roll towards another destination.

Long-time readers have witnessed our journey—it's almost like family now. For new readers, let me share that in two years, nearly six houses across two countries changed hands. Four cities hosted us, and the tally of hotels is almost a blur. Tickets were purchased as frequently as one's monthly salary. It occurred to me while writing, why not buy and hoard them for years? But what use are tickets when the destination remains unknown? What would the ticket vendor say? "Give me a ticket to anywhere."

Patriotism is curious; it strips the sense of home from one's heart. There's a realization that nowhere feels quite like home anymore. Return to your homeland, and you'll find samosas aren't the same, your mother's illness changes your childhood memories, friends are now married, children who once nursed are growing taller. Uncles can't bike to fetch almonds anymore—they're paralyzed.

The city's essence has transformed—birds vanished, dust clouds replaced the once-blue sky. Familiar roads lost their charm. The spirit of the old man from Liberty Market's chaat stall vanished with him, and Ajoka Theater's plays lost their vigor after Madiha Gohar's departure. Even the old residents relocated from the inner city to Johar Town.

The house where we once felt at ease, now, even the lock feels unfamiliar. No longer does the gate open at a touch; a bell must be rung. The person who answers doesn’t recognize us, seeking permission from her 'baji' and our mother before allowing entry. It solidifies the belief that this house is no longer ours.

Ask any stranger,

Who once knew their home,

Now, the suitcase resides where dreams are spun in a tongue we must translate to speak. Meals consist of roast chicken and buttered potatoes, unaware of adding milk to tea or the potency of a hearty laugh. They don't know the art of shedding tears openly or how to pronounce our name correctly.

Hence, wherever we go, we dub it home. They've lost the essence of what home truly means. We're unsure what 'Apnaity' signifies—is it our homeland, where no one knows us anymore, or where no one ever will? What do we truly know?

All we possess is a black suitcase. Countries change, houses change, and people change, but the heart remains steadfast. It dutifully tends to our clothes.

Wherever we tread, it feels like someone is walking alongside us, providing solace.

Patriotism is peculiar; it enriches pockets, instigates a sense of freedom, and unveils new worlds, yet, it takes away the essence of a home. And in the end, the bus clutches onto that black suitcase.


About the Creator


Let me submit, writing and solitude are essential. Writing is not possible in Mahfil Yaran. Why a person writes, how he writes, why he thinks, nothing can be said with certainty.

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Comments (14)

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  • olymoolla14 days ago


  • The Dani Writer21 days ago

    This writing goes straight through me, Naveed. I understand it from a place deep inside that has been hidden and it pulls for tears from another world to fill this one. If only I could carry this line around all day:- "Now, the suitcase resides where dreams are spun in a tongue we must translate to speak." *Mastery levels*

  • JBaz29 days ago

    I cannot believe how moved I became while reading this. What most take for granted is an earned struggle for others. This was a brilliant piece

  • M Leeabout a month ago

    This is beautiful. You should seriously work for a magazine like Condé Nast or National Geographic. Your descriptions are amazing. Love your style of writing!

  • John Coxabout a month ago

    This is simply a beautiful and poignant essay, Naveed, the sense of loss and being lost captured in the lonely image of the black suitcase. You are a wonderful word smith!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    This is quite touching, Naveed. Moving is a mixed bag: exciting but a severance.

  • Rene Volpi 2 months ago

    Writing like this is what makes it all worth it. Straight from the heart. Loved it! ❤️

  • Denise E Lindquist2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this. I can not relate to living out of a suitcase but I have lugged one around enough to know how to pack lightly.❤️💜💙

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    Last time i went home, i did not recognize the place. Took me days to feel like I was home. Leaving was hard. This is so great a story.

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Gosh this was brilliant.

  • noor2 months ago

    wow! great

  • k eleanor2 months ago

    Great read!

  • I felt every word. I took a road trip in 2003 leaving LA to go to Austin. Upon moving back 13 years later, I walked the streets where my shoe cobbler used to mend my shoes. As I walked around the boulevard, I saw new condominiums replacing the older businesses. I am encouraged to draft a story about that walk around North Hollywood, the expensive rents, etc

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