When my brother and I were growing up in Kolkata, we traveled quite a bit as a family and it was all because of my father. He traveled quite a bit when he was younger and he made sure we got to do that as well. Our travels have remained one of the most treasured memories from my childhood. One of the things that my father always did during our travels was bring back picture post cards of the places we visited which were not necessarily of very good quality, in terms of print. Nevertheless he would always bring those back with pictures that made that place famous. And eventually, we had a huge plastic bag full of these very bright colored cards which we would stumble upon once in a while going through family albums. His reason for bringing back those was simple- to have something from the places that we visited, a souvenir. Also, we did not have a very good camera at that time and none of us were ever sure if we would do a good job of taking a picture! And so, he wanted to have something that would, many years down the line, remind him of the places he had been to and things that had caught his eye.
Picture post cards are perhaps no longer a thing in India and I am not sure if they ever were here in the US (I will have to ask my friends about this!). They have been replaced by proper souvenir items ranging from shot glasses to unique display items, fridge magnets to wall hangings, to mention the basic few! I noticed the wide array of fridge magnets when I first came to this country…it wasn’t a thing at that time in India. And I was quite fascinated. They ranged from simple to unique, from plain to very colorful. And they held together everything -from family photos and school schedules to recipes and to-do lists! It was like a big display board…only much more interesting 🙂
And I started noticing the magnets much more closely, not in a creepy manner though, when ever I visited my friends and family. Every magnet added to the story of the people living in the house and the things that they held together gave a little bit of a glimpse into the life that was lived there. From kids’ artwork to handwritten recipes, backyard snapshots to wedding announcements, pictures of near and dear ones and special moments- it was like an archive and made the people living in those houses a bit more recognizable.
Over the years, Neel and I have gathered a few fridge magnets of our own from our travels and a couple we have got as gifts. I often look at these and try to think what made me buy a particular one and it makes me happy to reminiscence. There are magnets that we bought when we traveled as a couple and then there are those that we got during our trips as a family, with our son. They are all special in their own way and I am happy to have them. And they hold funny, silly, memorable bits and pieces of recipes, hand written messages, photos from special occasions- all depicting a moment from here and a moment from there. I hope to add more to the fridge in the coming years as we add to the pages of our lives:)