Traditional Hand Fan

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This hand fan, designed by my great aunt, is not just from a different place, but a different era. It is called a pakhi, which translates literally to "little wind", As late as the 1980s, the villages near Ludhiana, India, that  my parents grew up in did not have access to a stable power grid. So, when the power would go out, they would go under the shade of the trees and pull out fans just like this one. Every part of the fan, from the cotton used for the fabric to the wood used for the handle, came from somewhere in the village. While hand fans were extremely common for the first 99.2% of  human history, none of them were exactly the same. This design was uniquely Punjabi. 

My dad brought this with them when he came to the United States. My parents did not bring a lot with them from India; they planned to go back and forth between the U.S. and their homeland often. For one reason or another, however, he did bring this little fan with him as a little reminder of sorts (or possibly off the continued request of his aunt). It obviously serves little utility in our modern, air-conditioned world, but serves well as a reminder of a foregone time.

Year: 1998

– Gilvir Gill

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant