What is it like to collect things from places and store them to revisit later and find those places in those things?
I often pick up jewelry from places I visit that are far from my home. They are like little charms that carry the clinker of the sounds on the streets of that place. And when I wear them, I anticipate people to ask me, “where is that earring from?; so that I can go back to that place, again and again, and narrate my memories?
I have collected stones from the mountain desert of Ladakh, postcards from Europe, audio recordings of my walking tour guide in Berlin, books from museums in Paris, bags from Strasbourg, earrings with a Mona Lisa print from musée du Louvre, Paris and, the list is endless.
But this list is not a pompous narration of my fortune to have visited these places, but an opportunity to glance back at those rare moments that I want to keep safe in the pockets of my mind.
For example, when I bought a small charm necklace with a pretzel-shaped pendant from Strasbourg, France, I remember vividly that it was snowing over the dark brown, old and tall cathedral, with tourists wearing thick winter clothes and long snow boots walking by, and the smell of food from the local Christmas markets lingered in the air.
Wearing that blue-checkered scarf that I bought from Venice, Italy allows me to pinch myself every single time.
When I wear that fabric anklet from a tea stall in Markha Valley, Ladakh, I go back to that rare village I was trekking by. There were huge bare light brown mountains around, the clearest sky I have ever seen in my life, and the smell of a small farm (with minimum vegetation), from which two women waved at me with so much excitement, as if I were the only human they had seen in a long, long time.
I collect to never forget what I most enjoyed and loved, to keep that moment eternal in my life.