If Walls Could Talk

I mean….gallery walls. Today, I had planned on posting about how we created the gallery wall. But it looks like I might have some explanation to do before that, on the choice of things on the gallery wall. I have been getting quite a few questions on one thing in particular. ūüėČ

So let’s start off with a full on shot of the wall.

gallery wall, photo gallery wall

As I had mentioned earlier the whole idea of the gallery wall came to me from the post cards that B’s friend and coworker Clay Hensley sent him from his world travels.

displaying personal keepsakes

On the leftmost top corner is a card that Clay sent from Frankfurt, Germany. Below that is of course a school¬†portrait¬†of my son from his pre-school days. Actually this was the first¬†school¬†portrait that we had ever taken of the kids. We were almost certain that we had lost those (couldn’t find them for the last 4+ yrs)¬†until I accidently discovered them in a pile of documents in the basement last month. So these have an extra special¬†meaning¬†to us.

On the bottom we have B’s World Trade Center I ID card.¬†

That was the building that he worked in when he first landed in the US in 1999. He used to work out of either their WTC office on the 78th floor or their NJ office. As luck would have it  he was scheduled to work out of the NJ office on Sept 11 2001. To this day it is kind of scary for me to think that on the previous weekend, the Saturday he was in the WTC office the whole day. Miraculously all of his coworkers escaped the tragedy. The folks who would usually come to work early got late for the silliest of reasons that day and the folks who had gotten there early had gone down to the cafeteria on the 4th floor and could escape before the tower collapsed. That special piece of history will always be treasured in our home and we will always be grateful to God for guarding us during that tough time.

Moving on, more post cards from Clay from Korea, Istanbul, and Nice.

Onto the big elephant in the room. :)¬†What are movie reels doing in a home office? Shouldn’t they be in a media room?

movie reels decor, photo gallery wall

Totally agree…..in most cases. Our story is a lil diff here. B’s dream job is to be a script writer in Malayalam (our mother tongue) movies. He is very passionate about it and has been walking around with a completed script for the past 8 years. Sadly his dream took a back seat when life’s realities came knocking; my grad school, the kids, both his and my job changes, our move, a travel intensive job, and now his grad school. However after all these years he has recently been trying to pick up where he left of on his dream. More than anyone else I want to see his dream come true. From the moment I set eyes on those reels at¬†the Old Lucketts Store Spring Market, I wanted to get them for him. As this was going to be his room, I¬†want¬†these to be his inspiration to surge on.

On top of the big reel is yet another post card from Korea (can’t¬†make¬†out the city). Below it is the most interesting card in the collection, the “3 types of beards” card from Kansas City. Next to that is a card from Dakar, Senegal. Below the small reel is a card from Nashville.

Next, another sentimental one, our wedding card.

gallery wall

I had¬†completely¬†forgotten that I had the card with me (found this along with the kids’ portraits). We got married in India on April 24, 2000. In a month we had left for¬†the¬†US for good with just 4 suitcases. As a completely clueless 22 year old who had an arranged marriage and was moving to a strange country, I am¬†surprised¬†that I managed to¬†pack¬†this along. :) Aptly, next to it is a post card from Bangalore, India. I have to say a special thanks to Clay for managing to include stamps of every famous Indian in that one.

In the right most section we have another gem in the oval frame.

decorating with post , photo gallery wall

This one again is too close to the heart so I thought I’ll use a¬†different¬†frame, the one I got while antiquing in Purcelville, at our friend¬†Rebecca’s¬†store It’s Bazaar on 21st Street. The rolled up yellow thread is what we call a¬†‚Äėthali charadu‚Äô or the thali/mangalsutra thread. In our culture the thali is a gold pendant that has the same or even more significance as the wedding band in Western cultures. On the day before the wedding, the thali pendant is strung on a thread dipped in¬†turmeric¬†(hence the yellow color) and is blessed by the temple priest. On the wedding day the groom knots the yellow thread with the pendant around the bride’s neck. Here is a how it looks like (pic from a friend’s FB photos);

Kerala Thali

A few days after¬†the¬†wedding the bride takes the thali off the thread and moves it to a simple gold necklace. Usually people throw away the thread. For some reason, I never felt¬†the¬†need to throw it away¬†instead¬†I saved it.¬†In the same frame, are¬†the¬†kids’ hospital bracelets. Since these three keepsakes signify the start of our family at each step I wanted to frame¬†them¬†together.¬†OMG, all this sentimental talk……I’m almost in tears now.

Rounding off the gallery wall is a¬†portrait¬†of my princess¬†that was part of¬†the¬†earlier¬†portrait story. Below it is another post card from the Canadian Rockies………..Wow that is a long one.

Have you framed any emotional keepsakes in your home? Do you remember the story behind them every time you look at them? Call me crazy, I do.

Read about how to create the gallery wall here.



  1. says

    I really loved the thalli idea, I still have mine too but didnt know what to do with it. I just tied it to one of the columns of my temple.

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks Shruthi. That’s great that you’ve saved your too. Neither did I have an idea about what to do with that until this gallery wall came up. Was in a zip pocket in my makeup bag all these years. Didn’t even occur to me to keep it in the pooja room. Did you guys decide on the patio?


  2. Aaroohii says

    I teared up after reading the WTC story, specially this line ‘always be grateful to God for guarding us during that tough time’. Gotta tell you I didn’t cry when I went to dorms neither during my vidaai. Imagine tears rolling down my eyes and my eyebrows lifted up in surprise that I cried!! May god always bless your sweet little family.

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Aww….thanks so much Aaroohii. Made my day. God bless you too. Hope to see you around more.


  3. rani says

    Vidya,you are a born writer-I wonder who will write a screen play first-you or Biju-I think he has already written one!

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Aww….thank you so much. I hadn’t written any thing since high school till I started blogging. I’m just happy that I’ve rediscovered the joy of writing through blogging.

      Rani aunty, Is this you?


  4. says

    Yet another beautiful post vidya and simply loved the wall. There is definitely someone who looks after us and there with us always taking care of things that we don’t see. Believe in the strongly. All the best to your hubby on his script, with so much experimentation happening in the Malayalam film industry and beautiful movies being done, he will surely fulfill his dream soon and we hope to be in the theatres to catch it soon:)

  5. says

    Loved your write up Vidhya. If I got some ideas on keepsaking, your tribute to 9/11 was heart touching and after learning your story of WTC, I can definitely say god has his own ways of showing us that he is watching for us.

    May god bless your sweet family always!