PRINCE FREDERICK

Name: Priya Rammohan

Collection: Erasers

As a result of overuse, ‘unusual’ often sounds hackneyed. But when used to describe Priya Rammohan’s eraser collection, the word rises above the triteness surrounding it.

Each of her 240 erasers looks unlike any regular eraser. “I am not interested in erasers per se. I am attracted only to those that are artfully made to resemble other things.”

Lying in isolation, one of the erasers can be mistaken for an éclairs chocolate, as the brand’s name is inscribed on it. However, to prevent children from chewing it, the word ‘eraser’ is spelt out on the other side.

Tools and sports equipment form one portion of her collection. A complete bowling kit with a ball and nine pins is considered as one eraser. Having exchanged notes with others who share her inclination for fancy erasers, Priya knows bowling, golf and cricket kits are common.

Another set of erasers is based on items that are part of a household. It includes an iron box, toothbrush, camera, book and calculator. Of this lot, she likes the book-shaped eraser the most, because it looks just like one, despite the simple design. And, also because it was bought at a small grocery shop, the last place to find a fancy eraser. “I was surprised to find this eraser there,” she says.

Eatables, beverages and drinks, and vegetables are part of another category. There are French fries, sandwiches, hotdogs, burgers, pizzas, puddings, varieties of ice creams, Nescafe and Coke cans and a cork opener.

Priya has been collecting fancy erasers since she was in Class VII and remembers using all the vegetables as props in a science project to demonstrate a working model.

Other interesting sets include footwear and cartoon characters. An eraser of a girl in a pink skirt is dear to her, because it was gifted by her aunt, Dr. Shobana. In fact, Priya and her collection stay at this aunt’s house in Teynampet. “This gift started the collection.”

Her aunt and cousin Sriya buy unusual erasers for Priya.

Priya is careful not to spend too much on erasers. “The most I would have spent is Rs. 25 on an eraser,” she says. An MBA graduate from IIT, Priya knows the value of money. Ironically, the showcase, a gift from her uncle Vasanth Kumar, is costlier than the collection. Triangular, with mirrors on two sides, it flatters the collection.

( freddie@thehindu.co.in)

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