Monday, August 13, 2007


Memorabilia, Mementoes, Omiyage or just a Souvenir.

Embodiment of memories.

All the words of the heading are familiar to everyone but the third one ‘omiyage’ which is of Japanese origin and means the same- any object treasured for the memories associated with a period or an event. A trivial thing bought while on a tour from a certain place can induce the memories related with that time when it was purchased. There are old couples who keep things worth less than a penny and not willing to part with it even for a $ million, because they bought it while they were on their honeymoon or any other happy occasion, for them it evokes all the good things they had while they were young. A $ million can never recreate those memories as this objects can.

A practice beyond boundaries.

Buying and keeping a thing as a souvenir is not a novel idea at all, from time immemorial people went for pilgrimage brought home something like a picture of the shrine, image of the deity, a booklet about it or some offerings they received from the shrine etc (Indian temples give pilgrims saffron powder, sandal paste etc while stalls around churches sell images holy icons, booklets or rosaries or other things particular with that shrine. Though these are small inexpensive it is not so for the devotees, for them these are images representing far away places they visited during their good times.

Ganges- water or Zum-Zum.

Muslims who perform ‘Dul Haj’ (pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca) brings with them a can of holy-water from the Zum-Zum well at Arabia (zum-zum is a wonderful phenomenon - a source of water that exists in the dessert for years and never go dry). This is akin to the Hindu pilgrims who carry pots with the water of the holy River Ganges when the return after pilgrimage. This pot of water is kept along with the deities they worship in a place considered most sacred. Water of Zum-Zum or that of Ganges is just water, But not for the devotees! Who insist that at the time of their death this water may be dropped in to their lips; that are their affection towards a few drops of water!

A tree for a visitor

It seems to be an ideal practice that when V I Ps visit some location they are provided to plant a sapling, which grow and keep the memory of that person as well as provide shade, wood, flowers, fruits and fresh air to the pedestrians. These trees also function as standing memorabilia above all their duties as trees! - Signed Memorabilia.


Astronauts who return from moon; bring with them some pebbles with them, these pebbles are valuable for scientific experiments, but the value they command as souvenirs is far greater. If they are just another type pebbles why they are kept in grand museums with special security. If a wedding ring is just another ring why couples keep them as invaluable treasures? We live in a world of reality but can only feel it with the senses engulfed in subjectivity. Diamonds are another form of charcoal but people pay a fortune to own them! - Signed Autographs.

Soul of India!

In all tourist destinations selling of memorabilia is big business and there are frauds who deceive pilgrims and tourists by selling cheap and spurious things as the original for high prices. The author remembers two comedians in a Malayalam film selling twigs and driftwoods to tourists as ‘soul of India’! These twigs they collect from tea-gardens shape them in strange forms color it and sell it to tourists. Intrigued by their shape and the strange names tourists buy it as a memorabilia and take to their distant homes to be kept for years to come! The soul of a nation in the shape of twigs is a novel idea, and there may be a lot of homes where the owners may be boasting that the soul of India is safe in their hands!

Where heart commands.

Hand-kerchiefs, tooth picks, undergarments, caps, guitar picks etc once used by celebrities are treasures for their fans, and the craze is that big that celebrities can be rich simply by selling undergarments! It is a very very subjective world, reality and reasoning is not only irrelevant but also foolish as well as cruel at times. Let heart has its way and brain go on holiday! It would be cruel to approach a widow for buying an unused car in her porch, she can’t drive; but for her that is a bundle of memories; it was a bond between her and her husband and all happy times of their togetherness. It would only be the job of mega-bores to suggest a woman of selling her wedding ring to tide over a crisis, financial issues come and go but wedding ring not!

A Japanese touch.

It is probably the Japanese who are real believers in memorabilia (for them they are ‘meibutsu or omiyage’ they adhere to buy things specific things associated with a particular area while on visit or taste a food that is a specialty of that area hence this is big business there. Tourists get engaged in a buying spree not only for them but for their dear and near who could not pay a visit to that place. Not just curios, T shirts or caps (meibutsu) but eatables belonging to that area are souvenirs (omiyage) for the Japanese.

For the pilgrims.

Indian temples had been a haven for souvenirs far before the consumer revolution come in to being, the temples offers sweets like ‘laddus’ (a round soft sweet made of sugar, flour, butter oil etc, the laddu offered in Thiruppathi temple is bigger than a tennis ball), Thrimadhuram (an offering made of three sweets) etc. Numerous stall surrounding the temples sell many (most of them cheap) materials like the idols of the deity, pictures, and framed canvasses with the name of the deity etc. Devotees buy them and take home to be kept as a souvenir or for giving them to their relatives as gifts.

German Wall for sale.

It was a fad to buy stones claimed to be part of the German Wall that was demolished when Germany got united. Tricksters made hay while sun of democracy shined in erstwhile East Germany and pebbles and concretes wastes sold for dear sums. Visitors to the unified Germany happily returned with bagful of concrete powder. If visit to the moon was a bit more frequent there would have been a lot of stores selling moon-stones!

Deceiving souls? Beware!

If dry twigs can be the soul of a great nation, some concrete waste can be that of German Wall and a pebble found at the road side can be that from moon after a little washing and polishing! Memorabilia is something connected with the soul of those who keep it, cheating an innocent soul is such a great a sin; the tricksters and touts -however smart they are- won’t escape the wrath of god. one credited place you could find the stuff you need is here :- Memorabilia and Autographs - they are a member of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club. ( Founded in 1965, the UACC is the oldest and most reputable club of it's kind in the world. It is run by collectors, for collectors.)Most of the memorabilia seen and sold from this site have been collected from the celebrities either personally or by their agents. And all items bought from them carry a personal, lifetime, money-back guarantee that they are genuine. Moreover items that you find on this site are not simply a signature on a bit of card or photo: Some are framed and mounted with other material and/or photos to further enhance the impact of the memento. Happy collecting.

1 comment:

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