This versatile nonagenarian stays as busy as a bee. He is an avid collector of stamps, coins and cameras, draws vivid images and has a voluminous collection of interesting articles that have appeared in his favourite newspaper ‘The Hindu’.
Nallamshetty S. Venkatasubbaiah’s (91) drawing room in his busy Theertha Katta Street residence, has an assortment of his collections neatly stacked. Indexed in alphabetical order from Australia to Zimbabwe, his prized possession has a whopping 4,000 stamps from almost all countries.
The 700 coins of 90 countries, pertaining to various dynasties and time periods, are sure to fill one with awe. “The coins brought by my father from Singapore kindled the hobby in me”, he went nostalgic during the interview with The Hindu. Bulkier became his ‘bundle of coins’, as his collection improved and it was in 2,000 that he organised them in albums. At 89, he was the oldest participant in the numismatic show held in 2012, which is an indicator of his passion.
Mr. Venkatasubbaiah also has a stunning collection of 25 cameras, ranging from the Gevabox of 1950s to the modern SLR. He is an expert in pencil art and line art. He won a Lambretta scooter as second prize in the ‘Spot the ball contest’ organized by Reader’s Digest in 1969. He has painstakingly collected the ‘Know Your English’ column of The Hindu from 1982 to 2003. Very few know that he worked for The Hindu daily at Madras during 1939-42 as a packing boy, attendre, proof distributor, and finally as a filing assistant.
The writer in him came to the fore when he depicted the travails of his early life in an article. “His narration on how he almost became an orphan when his father left him for eighteen long years with relatives for a career in Singapore, and the family getting scattered during the war-time brought tears in my eyes”, recalls his grandson Trivikram. He has the habit of collecting abbreviations and ‘NOTA’ (None of the above) that saw light just ahead of this election season is the latest.
“Keeping busy helps me shed lethargy and stay fit,” says this ‘Mr.Young’, who, even today, works as a part-time accountant for a company.!