Moughal Arts Décoration is a tiny shop, ensconced between a restaurant that dishes out chunky pieces of chicken and a second-hand goods store on the Masab Tank main road. It can be easily missed except that a keen observer may pause to look a second time at the quaint antique lamps, chandeliers and a gramophone, so strange yet pleasing a sight on the otherwise busy street.
Initially started by Mirza Moustafa Ali Baig, the business of the shop is now being carried on by his son, Mirza Azhar Ali Baig. The main attraction is clearly the gramophone on display that is at least 70 years old. Baig admits that at present, while his gramophone has gone for servicing, the shop draws few customers.
Customers, by the way, include foreigners as well. Baig’s shop is curiously quaint yet attractive. For one, there is a mind-boggling number of items on display that could send the best memory into a tizzy. For another, everything is an antique piece, yet new to the eye. It’s almost as if history comes alive when you visit the store. The endless number of objects collected from the time of the Nizams’ reign include a polo stick and ball, teakwood furniture, Parker and Mont Blanc pens, ink-pots with fountain pens, photos from the Nawab’s family, copper and silver coins, a ‘tijori’, record-changers and portraits of some of the Nizams.
All of these items are at least 60-100 years old and have been procured from within Hyderabad. When business dwindles, the shop gets some of its goods from people who are clearing out unwanted items from their houses. “Threat to our business arises from imitation shops and handiworks that have resulted in a downslide in the value of real antiques,” says Baig.
Baig claims his family was the first to enter the business, more than over 25 years back. The store has witnessed large celebrity presence since, as Baig proudly lists names like Rekha and Raj Babbar amongst the many others who have visited his store.
Other articles of interest include a cuckoo clock, porcelain tiles, ceramic wall plates, English paintings, Moughal water-paintings, an old hookah, post-cards, ancient cameras, Farsi/Persian books, magazines, perfume bottles and old wine bottles. More importantly, all of these items can be used and are in perfect condition. The shop also caters to repair work if a customer has any problem with any item he/she purchases.
Baig’s definition of antiques is unique: Khareedney jao, woh milta nahin, bechne jao, woh bikta nahin (when you go to buy it, it’s not available, when you go to sell it, there are no takers). When asked if there is a certificate or document to certify the originality of the antiques, Baig says, “Oh, our word is enough. People who know us, trust us.”
Within the city perhaps, this is one of the best places to pick up curios for your house.