On trinkets and tributes, I have a lot to say.
Belonging to a generation where ‘bathroom selfies’ are an actual thing, I am yet to master the art of posing for photographs. It might be because I have very limited attention span or feel so obviously uncomfortable in front of a camera, or, as some people have clearly opined, not that photogenic. I rarely grin, (my photos are almost always with frowns or poker faces) and if ever I do grin, I do it with many teeth flashing. There is no in between. But I actually love photographs – just not with me as the primary subject.
I can define ‘behind the camera’ to a whole new level, and that is my favorite place to be, capturing moments, storing them digitally and even going so far as to scan old photographs (the ones they took some twenty odd years ago on film rolls, you know, the ones you ‘develop’ from a studio) to keep them safe. I admire and hoard photographs like one can never imagine. I often load memory cards full of photographs from places I visit and go with the ‘shoot everything you can, delete later’ policy.
Wanderlust is one of my core traits and in all the tours I have ever gone on, planned or unplanned, I bring back two things most essentially. (Not talking about the memories and all that stuff. I mean material things). One, obviously, are a full load of photographs I find immense joy in sorting out later. And the second is the humungous collection of trinkets that I have a separate compartment in my travel bag for.
Trinkets have a special allure for me, and I find myself being drawn to the little things that signify the local culture – the micro culture of the specific place I visit. Days, even years, later, these trinkets jump out at me from where I have stashed them away and the jog down the memory lane begins.
My love for trinkets has extended to asking my close friends to bring back souvenirs, if they’ve gone to places I have never visited, or am planning to visit. All of them oblige, and the special ‘from others’ collection has its own story, because in addition to the place, it now has the sweet memory of the person who brought it all the way for me.
See my problem yet?
The same goes for tributes. Always vocal with praises, and always a fan of words, I pen down the most memorable experiences in diaries. Be it the wild bike ride down the Shimla hillside 3 years ago, or the impossibly fluffy ‘idly’ I ate in one of Bangalore’s famous roadside eateries, I write about everything that stood in my memory and everything I cherish about the trip I went on.
These recollections evoke powerful emotions in me, always bringing forth the memories like the events just happened the day before. I have been criticized for being a hoarder, I have been ridiculed for holding on to the petty things, the little things that are not of much value and writing about what was in all probability, a very normal, meager thing that could happen to anyone.
Of course, I agree. But the fact remains that I am going to celebrate the fact that something happened to me – not minding whether or not it is a unique experience. Maybe I am not the first person to have ridden a bike in those chilly Shimla hills. Nor will I be the last. But that bike ride was a first experience for me, and one I will always cherish!
The three important T’s of Travel – trinkets, tributes and travelogues – are what keep the whole thing interesting!