Variety

‘My special Diwali souvenir'

KAVITHA SRINIVASA | Updated on October 21, 2011

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Pavithra Halkatti found her favourite gold choker on a Greek island. - Photo: Kavitha Srinivasa

Aman Mittal’s Aboriginal boomerang from Australia. - Photo: Kavitha Srinivasa

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Collectors pick their personal favourite for the festival season.

A keen, yet patient eye, a passion for singular objects and a refined taste — collectors as a breed tend to be widely travelled, scouting for and carrying back memorabilia as they crisscross the globe. Over time, they develop an emotional bond with their prized possessions. Here we feature collectors and their Diwali-special memorabilia.

Nafees Fazal, former Karnataka minister for medical education and science and technology

“I had always been fascinated by crystals and my association with them began during my world tour in 1976. Like jewellery, these sparkling beauties are very expensive and worth treasuring.

“Crystal is exclusive and within the gamut available, I settled on Saint-Louis, rated among the world's best crystal-makers. More expensive than brands such as Daum and Lalique, it is a niche and less-known product.

“I bought a Saint-Louis emerald-green bowl and a burgundy vase in Switzerland. While from Vienna, I brought home a wall bracket.

“I then began to handpick amazing pieces whenever I travelled abroad. Over the years, my friends too have gifted me eye-catching crystal figures.

“These colourful crystal curios add charm during Diwali, when my 100-year-old colonial home is decorated with eco-friendly diyas.

“My favourite piece is a limited-edition peacock-blue female figurine from Daum. Another elegant piece is a Murano blow-glass chandelier, which stands out with its pink-mauve flowers. The Water Ford crystal lampshades from London are perfectly in tune with the majestic Swarovski crystal candelabrum in my room.”

Nikhil Agarwal is a UK-trained sommelier and the director of All Things Nice, a Mumbai-based company that promotes wine culture

“I've collected interesting souvenirs from my trips across the country and abroad. They may not be big brands, but they caught my attention for being cool. During Diwali they add colour to the various nooks they occupy at my home. “I came across a unique store in Granville Island, Vancouver, which had bizarre stuff in the display window. I found a clay sculpture of a dwarf, which is my best pick till date. I've nicknamed him Merlin the magician because of his pointy hat. Although I knew it was unique when I saw it, I didn't buy it immediately. I returned to pick it up on the eve of my departure. Placed in the living room, it a great conversation starter. I also feel he's looking over us and protecting us in some magical way. I think I paid around C$200 for it, but such things are not about money.”

Pavithra Halkatti, Bangalore-based fashion entrepreneur

“Since childhood, I have been travelling extensively as my father is an avid traveller and enjoys family holidays.

“Each country offers something unique and I always brought home a keepsake. Prague is one such place. Exploring the old town, I shopped for crystals that dazzled from stores on both sides of the street. I picked up a beautiful vase and little crystal butterflies to adorn cocktail glasses, which come handy during Diwali parties. Best of all, they are affordable for tourists to take back as a souvenir from this lovely country.

“ Mykanoes island in Greece scored for its exotic jewellery, which has a distinct Egyptian influence. A gold choker from there adds glamour to my Diwali ensemble. Colourful masks and Turkish evil-eye trinkets too made for great souvenirs.

“Closer home, Thailand's island beaches are hot shopping options for trinkets. Its weekend markets are great for quirky stuff. Like many women, I love collecting bags, which I think are the best accessory to make the right fashion statement; my collection is growing by the day.”

Aman Mittal, deputy director, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar

“My work takes me all over the world. My interesting collectibles include a boomerang from Australia, a rare piece of jewellery from Africa and some exquisite watches from Singapore. The boomerang is special because it was made by an Aboriginal tribe. Though it cost A$300, I don't regret buying it. I scoured through flea markets and supermarkets until I found it at an artefacts store.

“I was always fascinated by the boomerang because it symbolises the truth that when you put in effort the results far exceed it.

“I have a stand for it in my office. Not only does it remind me to put in my best at work but also adds to the decor. During Diwali it signifies for me promise and new hope.

“The toughest collectible of mine was a piece of jewellery brought from Africa. A native helped me pick the best piece.”

Published on October 20, 2011

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