If there is one functional souvenir you should buy in Kerala, it is the umbrella. I always try and augment my personal umbrella collection every time I visit the motherland. Each season the umbrella makers — John’s, Poppy, Colombo — come up with new models. While last season, the Twister — an umbrella whose dome would twirl on contact with another dome, thus not getting tangled in a sea of umbrellas — was the rage. This season small seems to be big. John’s has launched the Atom (Rs 400), a five-fold that’s just a little bigger than the palm of my hand when shut, but opens out to a normal-sized brolly. It comes in bright, almost-fluorescent blues, greens, yellows, etc. Poppy, the other major player, offers competition with Nano, again a five-fold, but in boring black. What clinched the deal in favour of the Atom was the packaging — a sturdy, yet light case with a grip in the same hue.

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