Trinkets from across the globe

Unique Hobbies

Trinkets from across the globe

Most vacationers have a penchant for picking up local trinkets on their trips — but for many, this pastime is forgotten once the holiday is over. For Karishma Rao, however, it was the beginning of a pleasing obsession.

The student, who is currently pursuing her masters, bought a pretty key chain on a Europe tour with her parents when she was 15; since then, she’s started to build a collection of key chains and now is the proud owner of around 400 of them.

“I saw some really attractive key chains on that holiday and thought about picking up one from each place we visited,” recalls Karishma, adding, “by the time we came back home, I had around 10 or 15 of them — it wasn’t much, of course, but it was a start.”

She was no novice to building collections at the time but admits that when it came to picking up key chains, she was a lot more enthusiastic.

“I’ve collected coins and stamps before — but somehow, that never caught on. It was different when I started with key chains. I now have at least one from each continent, except South America and Antarctica,” she shares.

Karishma is pursuing her masters in Lyon right now and because of the little trips she takes with her friends, she always manages to find interesting additions to her collections. Her friends and family — more than aware of her pet passion — have also lent a hand by picking up key chains for her on their travels.

 “Now that I study in France, I’ve travelled to other parts of Europe like Germany, where I found some interesting ones. I have quite a few friends who also keep an eye out for something for my collection. Besides, I have cousins in the USA who send me key chains from Nevada and other places,” says Karishma. 

“From India, I have a few nice ones from Goa as well as many handmade key chains, which I really like. My mother has gifted me most of those, since she spends a lot of time at fairs and bazaars,” she adds.

Karishma explains that as her collection grew, she became a lot more selective about the kinds of key chains she included in it.

 “My first preference is to find key chains that signify a particular place — I love the little handmade ones, since they’re really unique, too. I also like key chains which are a little out of the ordinary — for instance, I have some animal-shaped ones, which glow in the dark. Everything in the collection has caught my fancy in some way or the other,” she says.

Like any other avid collector, Karishma has her personal favourites — first on her priority list, she explains, is a key chain which belonged to her father when he was a child.
“It’s a figure of a man playing golf and when you twist it, he swings the club. My father had it when he was young, so I’m guessing it’s about 48 years old. I also went through a Harry Potter phase and so, a key chain I have of the Golden Snitch is also very dear to me,” says Karishma.

She also picked up a cute light-bulb shaped key chain on a recent trip to Spain and her friends from University, from Morocco and Tunisia, have brought her some from their hometowns as well.

“The one from Tunisia is shaped like a shoe — it looks a lot like a Rajasthani joothi
but not exactly,” laughs Karishma.

She might own around 400 key chains, but Karishma is quick to clarify that she doesn’t actually use them in the traditional manner. “I never actually keep any keys on them — I just keep them for myself,” she laughs.

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