Kausik Misra wanted to be different. He found his place in the world (and books)by collecting bookmarks
I don’t like competition,” says Brunch reader Kausik Misra, 30, a marketing professional with a TV channel. “I have always had a hatred for anything that everyone was doing. So people collect stamps, coins and such but I collect bookmarks.”
Misra says he was amazed and honoured when Frank Divendal, the world record holder for the most bookmarks ever (more than 1,20,000 of them), found his Facebook page and wrote to him, saying he loved the page! “That was a good day,” he smiles.
He started collecting bookmarks in 2002, when he first arrived in Mumbai from his hometown, Jamshedpur, to study at St Xavier’s. One day, he bought a few bookmarks, and realised that this could be a “unique” hobby when he googled the English word for a person who collects bookmarks and didn’t find one. “According to French websites, the word is Signopaginophile,” he says.
Twelve years on, Misra doesn’t know how many bookmarks he has (he met us holding many stuffed packets). “It takes away the romance of it all, if I start counting. Then it becomes a chore.” He’s not slowing down though. He has bookmarks from countries as far away as the Netherlands, Belgium, Bhutan, Thailand, Indonesia, the UK, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Malaysia and South Africa and every place he has visited in India.
“I have travelled to many places but not everywhere, of course. My friends and family know what to get me as a gift. They often buy them at the airport!” he says with a laugh.
What’s important to him is that his bookmarks have memories attached to them. “When I went to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam last year, I didn’t buy posters of the paintings, but instead bought bookmarks. I will never forget that trip.” And in Belgium, where everyone was buying the lace umbrellas that the country is known for, he bought a lace bookmark.
Misra also loves making his own bookmarks. He has used airport baggage tags as bookmarks, even Do Not Disturb tags from hotels. Here is a fun story: To make a bookmark out of the colourful BEST bus tickets that are no longer in use, he actually travelled on the routes that used the red tickets, the blue and the green separately. “It makes for a great memory and story then. What’s the point otherwise?”
This is his only hobby, he says, but it defines him. “It’s so special because only a few people do it. I do something that no one else does. It’s on my Instagram and Twitter bios. It’s who I am.”
From HT Brunch, February 22
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