Mementos are a long-standing tradition - GulfToday

Mementos are a long-standing tradition

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


Representational image.

Our memories are our most treasured possessions. If all else disappears in our lives, they are the most likely ones to stay with us, barring any ill health that affects our memories and age that is inevitable. Memories are our mind’s way of keeping events and people alive long after they have moved on or passed away.

But we often go one step further than simply relying on our powers of recall. We accumulate mementos of important events or people in our lives. We take photos of important events such as weddings, birthdays and graduations and keep mementos of things that remind us of a particular time, event or person.

Shortly after my dad passed away, in 2013, I started speaking to so many friends and people on my contacts list and I learnt that when they lost their dad they kept so many of their dad’s belongings as mementos. Some things were as simple as an ID card they carried or not deleting their mobile number from their phone directory.

 One friend said, ‘I kept so many things’, another that she still had her parents’ numbers on her phone. I too kept many, many of my dad’s belongings. Things such as his spectacles, his hats, a shirt, a cardigan, some pens he used and many knick-knacks, including his prayer mat. I also have not deleted his number from my phone. Someone else has his number now but I cannot bring myself to delete it and I probably never will. I was heartbroken when dad’s things were being packed away in boxes even though it had been more than 6 months since he had passed away.

Ten years ago my dad gave me the latest Blackberry 9700. At the time, that series number was the most up to date model. Ten years later and that Blackberry is one of my most cherished possessions. I treat it with so much care that you might think I carry it around in bubble wrap. Like my friend said, I too kept so many things.

In terms of events, some people make huge mistakes, mistakes that they can never correct, especially if that event is a once in a lifetime opportunity. After I graduated I made sure, and so did my mum and dad, that I went to my graduation ceremony because there would be no other graduation event in my life other than the one that was just scheduled to take place. It was also a chance for me to have a formal photo taken in my hat and gown with the degree certificate in hand. I had a solo photo taken and one with my mum and dad on either side. This was all organised by the university. I even pressed and kept the carnation that was put on my lapel.

However, one friend of mine, who went to another university, decided that he would not be attending the ceremony. His reasons for not wanting to go made no sense and I did warn him that, if he didn’t go he might regret it later in life. Unfortunately, he did regret it especially since he had no graduation photo as a memento of his time at university. Of course he could have organised a photo session himself by hiring a hat and gown, ours was supplied by the university, and going to a good photographer. But the photo would not be a memento of an important milestone in his life. In, fact, it would probably remind him of the fact that he arranged all of that on his own and didn’t attend the actual event.

Of course I too have been careless with mementos over the years. There are things I wish I still had. For example, when I was around 9 or 10 my best friend at school gave me a friendship ring. As a kid I probably either lost it or it broke or I accidentally threw it away. I also love snow globes and one Christmas a friend gave me a really nice one depicting a Christmas scene with Father Christmas, a tree and reindeer, and the snow looked so real! I honestly don’t know what happened to it or even which friend gave it to me.

Keeping mementos is a long-standing tradition, going back more than 2,000 years and I reckon that this tradition is one that will never be forgotten.

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