Tiruchirapalli

Pavement shop showcases antiques

Mohamed Mukhtar displays an antique gun at his shop in Tiruchi.

Mohamed Mukhtar displays an antique gun at his shop in Tiruchi.  

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Gramophones, grandfather clocks, metal globes and bells galore

Among the many hawkers’ stalls that dot the approach road to the Anna Nagar Link Road from Thennur, arguably the most eye-catching one would be Mohamed Mukhtar’s pavement shop selling antiques and curios from a bygone era.

Whether it is gramophones, grandfather clocks, metal globes or bells and clocks from assorted railway stations and ships, there is plenty to see and photograph in this shop (functioning from just a small folding table).

“My father A. Bawa has been in this business for nearly 45 years. Now my brother Sameer and I have followed him. We seek out old mansions in Kerala and buy these collectibles at a wholesale rate, and then refurbish them and sell them in our shops in Guruvayoor,” Mr. Mukhtar told The Hindu.

As to why he had set up his business on a pavement in Tiruchi, he explained, “a big shop involves high rents and also may not attract many visitors. My stall helps passers-by to at least admire these lovely things even if they can’t afford to buy them.”

All the machines are in working condition, said Mr. Mukhtar, down to the land-line phones with wooden pillar box columns. They have been refitted with modern spare parts that allow users to dial numbers from 0-9, even though they were originally manufactured only for a 0-6 number-board.

“We also have telescopes, gramophone records, air rifles and binoculars in their original leather cases,” said Mr. Mukhtar.

As authenticity is important when selling antiques, Mr. Mukhtar tries to keep the original markings and trade names intact. “You can see year-stamps and brand names with their place of origin clearly marked on most of our antiques,” he said.

Mr. Mukhtar has travelled extensively, hawking his wares from similar roadside stalls in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. “I have to dismantle the antiques and transport them by train to avoid damaging them. Once I reach my destination, I take a small room on rent to re-assemble and store these things. I have been visiting various parts of Tiruchi for the past month,” he said.

The products are not cheap (a stand phone costs ₹ 5500, while a globe with stand will set you back by ₹ 8500), but Mr. Mukhtar says antique lovers will find them to a valuable addition to their collection. “I get only two or three genuine queries out of the hundreds of people who come to take a look at these things. But those who appreciate antiques will understand the beauty of our stock.”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 11:57:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/pavement-shop-showcases-antiques/article30273167.ece

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