Souvenirs bring back her travel memories

Souvenirs bring back her travel memories

Unique hobbies

Fridge magnets from different parts of the world.

The fascination towards world culture and heritage led Githa U Badikillaya to collect fridge magnets and bookmarks from different parts of the globe.

She has collected 150 bookmarks and fridge magnets each, bought from countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany Singapore, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Philippines, Japan, Sri Lanka and more.

“I’ve visited 27 countries and always try to bring a slice of the country back, in the form of these souvenirs. I also have magnets from India. Most of the pieces have a story to narrate or a fascinating fact about the country to highlight,” says Githa, who is the founder-director of Destination Heritage.

While most of the fridge magnets have been bought from stores or souvenir shops, the bookmarks were found at bookstores and marketing freebies. “I’ve tried to keep my collection distinct. I have some bookmarks made by mouth and food artistes, a collection of bookmarks from the India Post, three-dimensional ones from Malaysia and aesthetic bookmarks and magnets from Japan,” she details. Her collection includes striking pieces from different time periods, a map-like bookmark from Sri Lanka, a Madaba tile magnet from Jordan, doll-like bookmarks from Thailand, a set of bookmarks of Samurais from Japan, a set of UNESCO heritage places from Kyoto and more. Each of these pieces encourages Githa to talk about history connected to them and narrate stories from her trips.

“I remember buying a clog magnet from Hague in 2004. I came to know about why farmers used clogs in farmlands, and the whole story stuck with me. There are many such stories,” she says.

Githa’s biggest inspiration is her daughter, Karishma, who has a large collection of keychains. “These pieces always remind me of the fun times I had with family and friends while I was travelling and the new people I met during my trips,” she says.

The travel-enthusiast is looking forward to expanding her collection. But she doesn’t want any contributions from others. “I don’t mind having a small collection. I do not want others to gift bookmarks or magnets to me as I will not have a story to remember,” she says.

She hopes to visit Nepal, Bhutan, Hanoi among other places in the near future, and add to her collection. “Each piece I add to my collection is a visa stamping on my memory passport,” she proudly says.