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Awesome vignettes. It is both a bit of a relief and and a disappointment that stuff brought over from relatives in Amrika has lost its glorified place on the pedestal. Like you point out in such a relatable way, they had a certain something to them that just was not the case with stuff available in the Kirana or your stationery store - Snickers, Jolly Ranchers, $1 Paper Mate pens, random notepads, the obligatory T shirts with some random US city name, cheap digital watches, desktop calendars and the like. In hindsight, all of it was probably stuff from the neighborhood dollar store that looked special and nice to have. It was probably picked a couple of hours before the relatives boarded the flight as they said to themselves "pick any damn thing as long as it is not available in India, is shiny and has snob value." Great writing!

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