I'm a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.


Kiruba Shankar

‘Weather Vane’ from an antique shop

I was lucky to find this beautiful ‘Weather Vane’ from an antique shop. Have been looking for one for a very long time. This will go up on the roof of our farm house. This was used earlier to show the direction of the wind. Interestingly, the cock turns itself to face the wind.

The Hunt for the Vinyl Records

When I was a small kid, back in our ancestral home in Sooramangalam Village in Pondicherry, we had a LP record player. Not a gramophone but a modern (then!) player. My Dad and Uncle owned Record album holders (which looked like monstrous sized photo albums) with records of English, Tamil and Hindi songs.

As we grew up and moved houses, no one knows where the record player and the LPs are. My suspicion is that they are all discarded and must be lying in garbage dumps somewhere.

When I started my antiques collection, the LP records were firmly on the ‘Must have’ list. Five years ago, when I visited Moore Market to buy books, I noticed a few shops selling these records. When I made a visit there again, I was hoping that those shops still existed. I was not to be disappointed.

I went there on a week day at 11 am (that’s the time most shops open) and spent an entire day there rummaging through the collection.

The shop you see below is just one of the shops that the owner has. He has a few more mostly used as godowns stocked with records, piled up from floor to ceiling. I was spoiled for choice.

Most of the records I picked up were old English music ones. I also picked up a lot of old tamil songs featuring Sivaji Ganesan. The MGR songs LPs were sold at a premium. The owner tells me its mostly the aged AIADMK party workers who come and pick up the MGR records. My favorites were Rajini and Kamal records.

That’s me with my collection of records at my home. It’s a sizeable collection. Now, the onus lies in me to take care of them. While I own a gramophone, these big records cannot be played on them. I need to purchase a more modern record player. That’s next on my list.

More photos from the Vinyl Records hunt.

The complete list of all the vinyl records that I own. Each individually photographed.

Received a Treasure Trove of Tarzan Comic Strips since 1957

Yesterday was one of those amazing days that rarely happens.  It all started with a simple tweet I received from Rajendran Dandapani, the Head of iGarage – the Apple-focused development team at one of my favorite companies, Zoho Corp.

Kiruba,  Heard you are gunning for a comic-collection record? Didn’t know you were a Tarzan fan. Have a trunkful from old Indian Express..

Rajendran had obviously chanced upon my Comics Collection website http://www.Kiruba.com/Comics . I was happy to find another comic fan in Chennai and replied to him with this tweet.

Yes, Raj. Great to hear you are a Tarzan and Comics fan. Please guard those strips with your life!

I nearly fell out of my chair when I read Rajendran’s reply.

Kiruba, I meant – I am planning to give them away…

We spoke on the phone and fixed up a time to meet together at his residence in the evening. When I was warmly welcomed into the home, I was shown the treasure box. A carton filled with comic strips.

All the comic strips were neatly segregated by stories and years and packed inside polythene covers. Each of them were numbered. I could immediately feel the passion and love with this hobby was pursued.

A bigger surprise was to await me. I was introduced to Rajendran’s Dad. A very amiable man with a radiating charm, walked out of his room. He couldn’t shake hands as he walked out mid-way from his dinner. It was then Rajendran told me that his Dad is a huge Tarzan fan and has been collecting Tarzan strips since when he as a young boy.

Rajendran’s Dad spoke pristine English and articulated how he was a big fan of Johnny Weismuller, the 5 time Olympics swimming gold medalist who acted in Tarzan movies. Since his younger days, he would carefully cut the Tarzan comic strips that appeared in Indian Express and save them. This was a bed time story tool for his young son.

Its obvious where Rajendran’s passion for Tarzan came from. Raj says that the Tarzan comics helped build a close strong bond between him and his Dad.

As me and Rajendran continued to talk, I asked him the difficult question. It was clearly the elephant in the room and had to get it out of the way. How can he afford to give away the collection? After all, not only was there an humongous effort that was spent in diligently collecting the strips, there were extremely strong and deep memories attached.

I expected Raj to give a pained reply. Surprisingly he didn’t. Either that or he is very good at masking his feelings. He told me that they had made digital scans of the strips and now its easier for his kid to read them on an iPad. More importantly, there is a copy of each of those strips available online. Besides, the cartons were occupying space at his home and they were doing some serious spring cleaning.

As a comics collector, I have total respect for Rajendran and his Dad for what they have accomplished. When I picked the carton and walked towards the car, I had a heavy feeling in my heart. A feeling of deep responsibility. The carton not only contains years of comic strips but tons of memories and nostalgia. It carries an inexplicably bonding between father and son. I have to be a good custodian and pass it onto the next generation. That’s the best form of gratitude I can show to Rajendran and his Dad.

A Gramophone Comes Home

After months of searching, I finally selected a gramophone that I liked. Its actually a remake and not an antique. However, its a remarkably done remake. The only consolation though is that I exchanged the shiny flower horn for a real antique one (seen in dull brass color). This gramophone is a full working model and it plays great. We listened to ‘Kaadhalika Neramillai’ (one of my parent’s favorite movie) and surprised them last night. View the Album.

A New Microsite for Antiques

The interest in antiques has been steadily growing and it has reached a stage where it warranted its own microsite. Please check out http://www.Kiruba.com/antiqes

Please note that its a soft beta launch. The paint is still fresh and rough around the edges.  Please do let me know what you think of it…especially areas that need improvement. Please feel free to be critical.

Through the site, I hope to share with others not only information about my collection but also my experiences. The information would come i useful for those who want to get started with this hobby. I’m also hoping to network with other antique collectors and get inspired.