No Baggage Please

2 min


‘Welcome to the Cloak Room,’ greeted a well-rehearsed cheerful voice. The lanky old man in faded brown overalls exhibited great poise and an assured calm. In the background, a huge stack of suitcases neatly labelled with names, presumably to whom those belonged, rendered a certain solemnity to the wizened man.

Sameer looked at him with half open eyes. ‘Who are you?’ he asked.

‘They call me The Baggage Keeper,’ replied the old man.

The heavy odour pervading the room induced the same delirium in Sameer as the rave party he had attended the previous night. The last thing he remembered was he felt dizzy after too many drinks and slumped onto the floor. The din and clamour of the reveling crowd slowly faded in his head. Before long he was flung into a revolving Time Capsule that sucked him deep into a dark tunnel and after travelling at a high velocity for a long time ejected him onto an isolated station.

‘Which place is this?’ he asked.

The old man pointed to a sign board that read ‘Life in Motion Platform No. 3.’

‘What does this mean?’

‘Congratulations! You have now moved to the third stage of your life. And you may choose one or more of these suitcases that you deem fit,’ said the old man pointing at the massive arrangement of suitcases from wall to wall and floor to the ceiling.

Looking at Sameer’s blank expression, he deigned to lift one suitcase after another to elaborate further: ‘Your father’s – quite heavy and rigid, your mother’s – lighter but unstable, your brother’s – very unwieldy, teacher’s – lot of rough edges, best friend’s – quite comfortable, and your girlfriend’s – looks stunning yet mercurial. All of them have left their own piece of baggage here for you.’

‘Why should I be bothered about them?’ said Sameer irritably.

The old man gave a wry smile and said, ‘Like everyone else who has passed by this platform, you need to select your baggage too in order to move ahead.’

‘I don’t think -’

‘Sometimes there is no good choice, Sir, only one less grievous than the others. Besides, every man needs some baggage to secure his journey. Else he risks being lost and unprepared in critical situations.’

‘On the contrary, I prefer to carry no baggage. It could become the biggest limitation beyond which you are too afraid to let go. It could stop you in your own tracks.’ Sameer stated with an air of confidence.

‘You cannot go past the gates without any baggage,’ the old man said trying to counter him.

‘Give me an empty suitcase, if you insist. I will fill it with my own experiences and reflections and make it mine.’

The old man’s face widened with a smile. ‘They also call me The Conscience Keeper. And only few, like you, recognize this side of me.’ He punched a ticket for Sameer and wished him luck. Soon after the Time Capsule arrived. Sameer stepped into it and embarked on the journey ahead.

***

The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00 entry.
Check out event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/five00-6/

Check out Ratnakar’s space here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/author/ratnakarbaggi/

***

Photo by Erwan Hesry

 

 

 


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