Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mementos on my shelf

The Papyrus Painting
The long and solitary days during the prolonged period of lockdown suddenly ignited some memories of the travels undertaken in yesteryears. They had been quietly resting in their places for several years and except occasional dusting and removal during the times the house was being painted they have been there. Little did I realize that a time will come when I will have to feel content just by looking at them and remembering the stories associated with their entry in my life.
 'The Statue of Liberty'  that stands in a solitary corner was one of the earliest one in the series of collection. I remember that almost four decades back I had just stepped off the ferry to Staten Island where the majestic figure loomed large. The chilly winter air of January was no deterrence to admire the beauty of this symbol of liberty. A feeling of excitement and awe had taken over me. After exploring the place the two things that held my attention was a slot machine whereby inserting a cent and adding a quarter the machine would squeeze out the pressed one cent with an emblem of 'the statue' and another was the miniature statue itself. I lost no time and since then have been a proud owner of these.
Thee Demitasse Cups-Egyptian
Next to the shelf is an ancient painting from the Egyptian folklore on the papyrus. It was an arid afternoon when I had just returned after a visit to the Pyramids at Giza. I had never imagined that I would one day see the mummies of Pharoah Kufu or the Cheops at the ancient site. The huge Arabs on camels took us around the pyramids. I was transfixed by the beauty of the paintings when I stood at the stall outside the National Museum in Cairo, on return. A decision to buy the papyrus painting was almost instantaneous and to this day reminds me of the trip in the scorching sun by driving around the Nile to explore this lovely place.

A set of shimmering cups of gold with ancient paintings and mythological characters are a reminder of  Athens. I had just climbed down from the hilltop at Acropolis in Athens and found myself in the middle of a small bazaar. I was accosted by many sellers with different souvenirs being thrust at me.  As I  looked around what caught my attention was a set of traditional  Greek coffee cups also called as 'demitasse cups'( french for half cups). I haggled for the price but the bigger concern was packing them and bringing back safely with me. These are still a proud possession and the reminder of the visit to this exotic country.
Wooden Carvings from Ubud

A few years back we were exploring Bali, the biggest Hindu island in Indonesia. The paddy fields of Ubud were a sight to remember. We looked around for the house where the legendary Ketut, a character from, 'Eat, Pray and Love'( book and blockbuster movie starring Julia Roberts). In the process, we landed in a small market where a lot of curios and wooden carvings were being sold. There was no way I could restrain myself to buy the wooden replicas of Hindu gods beautifully carved in wood.

It will be a longish post if I focus on some more but each small tidbit unwraps the story waiting to be told. Numerous coins, stamps, fridge magnets, small replicas of famous monuments, woollen gloves et al, each has a story of its own. During the last trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most interesting visit to Medjugore a place of pilgrimage of the Christians needs to be told. The place was not on our itinerary but the kind driver took us there to visit the church of Mother Mary. On completion of the visit, the driver handed over a silver coin with the crest of the Basilica and an image of Mother Mary embossed on either side.

No wonder for any traveller the mementoes gain importance to associate the memories. But for these small tokens of love which we gift to ourselves or are gifted by others become a source of immense pleasure in the cradle of our memory

PS: All pics are mine


  1. Each memento we pick up on our travels holds a special place in our heart

  2. Indeed I too sometimes marvel seeing the souvenirs collected over the years.... And each one with it's own little travel tale to cherish... Loved your collection and the stories behind each. I am yet to visit all these places... They are on my travel list... Especially Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina :)....and yes after having watched Eat Pray Love... Even Bali :)

    1. Thanks a lot Ira for reading my post. I am sure you will visit many more places on your wish list and will look back with satisfacation of having explored the beauty around us