A penchant for old pieces

A penchant for old pieces

Unique Hobbies

If you think today’s youngsters don’t value antiques, you are wrong. B R Vivek, a student of M S Ramaiah College of Arts, Science and Commerce, is passionate about collectables and antiques and has a collection of over 250 of these items.

Ancient : Hallicrafters receiver and other antiques on display. dh photos by Janardhan B K

His collection includes a Garrard record player (1958), SX-28 Hallicrafters receiver (1942), Ansonia clock (1895), Vespa scooter (1966), the first telephone model designed by the Indian Telephone Industry (1979), Ravi Varma’s lithograph depicting ‘Shakuntala Janm’, a Bangalore survey map (1910) and a fan (1935). He also has with him a huge collection of LP (Long-Playing) records, wooden stereo box, brass items, cigarette packs, match boxes, glass bottles in various shapes, transistors, a tambura, old magazines and so on.

Vivek inherited a majority of these items from his ancestors and that’s how he developed an interest in collecting antiques. “When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the old, yet attractive, things at home. I used to look at the record player, tambura and other things with astonishment. Those memories kept haunting me later. So, I decided to nurture my passion for old items and took this hobby seriously since three years,” he explains.

“Sometime back, an old transistor of mine broke down. Although I searched all over the City for the spare parts, I didn’t find them anywhere. This incident urged me to collect old items.”

His collection began with LP (Long-Playing) records, which he is very fond of. He now has plenty of records of classical and Western music, interviews, voices of famous personalities, information related to sports and automobiles etc. His magazine collection comprises old issues of ‘Life’, ‘The Illustrated Weekly’, ‘Sportsweek’ etc.
He also has a rare item called Super Skyrider SX-28, a Hallicrafters receiver made by the US to catch radio signals of the German army during the Second World War.

Apart from his family members, his relatives and friends too have contributed to his collections. “I am quite popular as an antique collector among my neighbours and they have also gifted me some items,” he says while adding that he collects everything which attracts him.

Vivek admits that keeping things in good shape is quite difficult. “I wipe off the dust from these items very often, but each item needs different kind of attention and care. Brass items need to be polished regularly while magazines should be kept away from moisture. Electronic goods should be run and have to be painted frequently,” he explains. Thanks to his hobby, Vivek has also learnt to repair electronic items.

He says his family members have supported and encouraged him a lot. His passion has also brought him closer to like-minded people. “I have gained a lot of friends who have similar hobbies. We share our ideas and tips on keeping the antiques in good condition. Sometimes, we exchange the items if we have more than one,” he says.

He visits ‘Sunday Bazaars’ and old shops to add to his collection. “When things become old, people think that they are of no use and dispose them off without a second thought. From what I have seen, today’s generation don’t know the value of these assets. People like me find a treasure in them. I would like to preserve and restore old items,” says Vivek, who wishes to build a mini-museum in his house.
Vivek is also a member of ‘Classic Scooter Club’ and takes active part in the rallies organised by the club.