Thursday, November 21, 2019

"Sorrows Springs Are the Same": The Yellow Suitcase by Meera Sriram

Asha rested her head on the taxi window. The city streets bustled in India.

When the taxi pulled over, Asha looked past the palm trees and marigolds.

Grandma wasn't waiting on the front porch.

Asha remembers earlier visits when her yellow suitcase has always been full of presents for Grandma, and how it was always filled with presents from Grandma when she left to fly back home. But this year is different.

Grandma's house is full of strange relatives. But it seems empty.
"Where is Grandma? " Asha asked, although she knew.

"She's not anywhere," said Dad, and Asha saw him cry for the first time.

Asha can't bear the house without Grandma. She can't bear the yellow suitcase, empty. She hides it away.

But when it's time to fly back home, Dad brings her the suitcase and opens it.

There is a quilt inside, made from pieces of Grandma's old saris, smelling of her talcum, stitched together in her last days for Asha.

The yellow suitcase is not empty at all, and Asha knows that it is filled with the gift of love that will always go with her, in Meera Sriram's beautiful true story about loss and lasting love that lives on, in The Yellow Suitcase (Penny Candy Books, 2019. With the meaningful theme that family love lives on in those who receive and pass it on, this universal story of grief is beautifully illustrated in the evocative art of Meera Sethi.

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