Here are some of the oft asked questions.
How did your interest in antiques start?
I hail from a village where we stayed in an ancestral home with old stuff all over. I woke up to the wonderful music of M.S.Subbulakshmi’s Subrabatham from an old Gramaphone LP player. I grew up with the hourly chime from the pendulum powered grandfather clocks. To me, antiques reminds me of my childhood days and its a nostalgic journey.
I recently visited a wonderfully restored hotel in Yercaud that was originally built in the 1860s. Its owner, Vishu Kaliappa, had decorated it with wonderful curios and antiques that he had collected over the years. I absolutely loved the feel of the place. It triggered a huge interest in collecting things that are antique.
Where do you usually pick the antiques from?
I picked most of the antiques from the couple of antique shops in Moore Market in Chennai and Mutton Street at Chor Bazaar in Mumbai. I did visit a few upmarket shops in Bangalore that has a wonderful collection of antiques but they are extremely overpriced. I prefer picking it up from small antique shops and flea markets rather than high-end shops. Half the joy of owning an antique is the bargaining and haggling and finally coming to a win-win end.
Where can I take a look at all your antique collections?
I have photographed each every antique items that I’ve collected so far. You can find them all in this collection here. In addition to antiques, I’ve also added retro stuff from the 60s and 70s.
What is your most prized collection?
It’s the century old Commodore Large Format Camera. Its a mahogany wooden camera with nickeled artwork and a wonderfully calibrated tripod.
What is the difference between Antiques and Retro?
From what I have understood, Antique stuff are over a century old or at-least close to a century. Retro stuff is more recent, typically from the 60s and 70s.
What criteria do you use while picking up antiques?
While buying an antique, I trust my heart and gut feeling. I never buy any antique for its resale value or its appreciation value. Once I pick up an antique, it stays with me for life. Hence, I’m very careful in what I pick.
I’m also conscious that antiques can be a space gobbler and hence I have been conscious of finding them a good place in my home that can be displayed.
Unlike hardcore antique collector who have themed collection ( example, all models of clocks), I focus on variety. I prefer having different items.
I like a particular piece that you have. Would you be willing to sell it to me?
Not unless you are giving me a price I can’t refuse. Nah, just kidding. I don’t intend to sell any of my collection. Selling them and making a profit was never the intention.
I’m interested in collecting antiques. What advice would you give me?
The best advise is to follow your heart. If a particular antique warms the cockles of your heart, then pick it up. It’s the enjoyment value that’s more important than anything else.
Remember that in antique collection, the journey is more important than the destination. The process of searching, researching, finding, bargaining is as crucial as just bagging it. So enjoy the entire process.
Certain antiques hold special memories for people. For example, I was very focused on getting an old Seth Thomas pendulum clock because we used to have one in our ancestral home when I was a small kid. For you, it might be different. Like I started the answer, just follow your heart. And enjoy the journey!