I have a small purple cabin bag. Half of it is always full. I leave the other half for all the souvenirs I bring back for friends and family. It could be a Double Decker Red Bus fridge magnets from London or local imli (Tamarind) sweets from Coorg, to a show piece egg from the Vinetian in Macau to a phallus key chain for single girl friends from Bhutan! Little things to give away, I feel like I am sharing a part of my travels with everyone. But a collection of travel souvenirs! Ah, wonder why do we do that?
You know when you get back from a crazy week at work, relaxing at home and your eyes fall on that clown fish magnet you bought from Maldives on your first diving expedition there? Have you ever wanted to just sit back for a while and reminisce over those relaxing days in Bali or that high on adrenaline trek to Stok Kangri? A recent conversation with Malabika Ahuja, travel consultant in Bombay brought up this topic. Here’s what she has to say.
The first time I travelled to London about 13 years ago, the cute little brownstone miniatures in souvenir shops stole my heart, but their price tags put my dilemma to rest and I came back home with fridge magnets of a red telephone booth and a double-decker bus. From there began my love for fridge magnets from my travels across the globe. The Amsterdam houses, Heidi, cowbells, chalets & cuckoo clocks of Switzerland, Singapore Merlion, the surfing bays of Gold Coast, beer mugs from Brussels, casino dice from Macau, apes of Borneo, clock tower of Prague, tuktuks of Bangkok and many more started appearing as magnets on my refrigerator.
There were times when I did not get time to see the cities I visited on work but I saw the sights through the magnets I picked up at airport souvenir shops.
When the weight of the magnets got too heavy for my fridge door to bear, not to mention the turmeric and oil stains, I decided to display them on the whiteboard in my office cabin. That in hindsight was a very smart move. Being from the travel fraternity, my friends and colleagues admired my collection and starting adding to it as and when they travelled. I owe half the collection to a dear friend Arvind Tandon, who helped me build the collection.
As the collection grew, I kept changing the display based on different themes or messages. The colourful, vibrant board attracted several visitors from corporate guests, to office boys and cleaners for a peek at my little world. My prized possessions are the wine & grapes from France, the beautiful Cleopatra & Monalisa, lovely lasses of Turkmenistan, Elvis on a vinyl and of course my childhood buddy from the world of books- Heidi.