The little green suitcase had been my companion for as long as I could remember. In my earliest childhood memories, it wasn’t even a green, it was black, and my mother used to keep her wedding album, old letters and trinkets neatly stacked inside the suitcase. But the day we fled our home, mother threw out all her memorabilia and stuffed some cash, clothes and her jewelry in the suitcase. Ah yes, she put her Quran in there too.
The little green suitcase was with me when bombs were exploding all around us in the cantonment and somehow, we survived. It was with me the day when our troops surrendered, and we were taken as prisoners of war. I sat on it on the floor of an Indian military truck when they took us from Dacca to the Narayanganj port. I sailed down the River Meghna with the green little suitcase and spent the next week crammed in a rail carriage not knowing where we were heading. For the next two years it stayed with us in the POW Camp and we put it on the floor to separate our sleeping space from the other refugees. Mother still guarded it like a hawk because she still hid her precious jewelry inside the suitcase.
On the 29th of October 1973, I carried it proudly as I crossed the border and entered Pakistan. A year later when Pappa finally had enough money to rent a home we took the little green suitcase with us to the new home and placed it in one corner of our living room. Here it was the only object in the empty room as if part of the furniture, and I would often sit on it to eat dinner. Later as the house started filling with furniture it was probably stashed away somewhere.
In the late seventies I started writing my experiences as a refugee child and as I wrote them I placed them neatly inside the little green suitcase. Ammi also stored some of her old correspondence from her parents and some of her memos, and as time went by my little green suitcase started filling up.
I was admitted to Dow Medical College in the early eighties and got busy with my studies. The rigorous medical school schedule and enormous pressure of medical studies was keeping me busy and the little green suitcase faded away from my thoughts. It was probably put somewhere in a closet and collected dust for the next few years.
Months and years passed by, decades past by. I became a doctor, got married, had children and life went on. Life became so busy I totally forgot about the little green suitcase. Though I am sure it remained hidden in some corner of my sub-conscience.
Finally, after almost 50 years, I opened up the green little suitcase and all the memories came flooding back. All the memories that one might want to forget but cannot. I am so glad that the suitcase has stayed with me for all these years and kept my memories alive so I could sit down and jot the notes to help me write the book. I hope you will like the book. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all other major book stores.