The sweet sounds of the bells

Unique Hobbies

The sweet sounds of the bells

Bells here, bells there, bells everywhere... Aslam Gafoor’s passion for bells rings through his residence, located on Hutchins Road.

“It is the sweet melodious sound of bells that got me hooked on to collecting them. And everyone collects something at one point of time or other,” he explains

It was in 1994 while travelling in Switzerland that he began collecting bells. “I saw a bell on a cow in a village there and I picked it up because I liked the sweet haunting sound,” he says. Soon enough, he became the proud owner of more than 300 bells, which are now placed all across his apartment.

“Although bells are taken for granted, these fascinate me,” he says adding that every bell has a distinct sound. He recalls that during a sightseeing trip to Coorg, the sound of a bell in the distance had caught his attention. “Immediately, I made an effort to get hold of it,” he says.

“I have also been receiving bells as gifts from friends ever since they came to know about my love for these. Even when people send me greeting cards, the stamp has the picture of a bell,” he says.

The prices of the bells that he has range from Rs 20 to
Rs 4,000. “Every bell has a story behind it and I like to understand these stories,” he says. His eyes and ears are trained to the sights and sounds of bells so much so that he just seems to have a knack of spotting them.

“My wife and children too are trained to look out for bells,” he chuckles.
He has bells from nearly all countries in varied shapes, sizes and materials, be it glass, clay, ceramic, steel or brass. And every time he travels, he makes sure to pick up a bell as a souvenir.

Ask him how he maintains so many of them and pat comes the reply, “I give all credit to my wife who ensures that these are kept clean. She makes sure that these are dusted every few weeks. Credit also goes to my children who haven’t broken any of these bells.” 

“Although they are fascinated by these, they have been careful,” he adds.
There are bells from Jaipur with Indian landmarks engraved on it, a bell from Malaysia which does not ring, a bell filled with blended Scotch whisky, the replica of a 1751 bell, one from Las Vegas with a turning dice and another with The Leaning Tower of Pisa atop the bell.

There is also a bell in the shape of an owl, which is considered to be a lucky charm; a set of bells which play musical notes; a wooden box with a bell within which tea leaves have been stored, a bell with figures of Australian animals atop, a bell from Maldives with a coconut tree on it among a host of others.

Pointing to the replica of the bell from 1751, made in Pennsylvania, he says that the original had a crack and so does the replica.

Recalling a visit to Bordeaux, he says was very keen to get a bell. Although all through his visit, he kept looking for a bell, it was when he was at a wine- tasting session that he observed that  the wine company’s logo was a bell. He asked for the bottle, which served as a souvenir of the trip.

“Anytime I find any unusual one, I buy it,” he says.
Even with such a vast collection, he regrets having missed adding a Swarovski bell to his collection. “As a compensation, I bought this small Swarovski Christmas tree-like bell,” he points out.

However, he says that he is not part of any hobby club. “Actually I don’t know anyone who collects bells. Many years ago, I had watched a television show, where I saw a collector of bells and it was then that I realised the scope for this
hobby,” he explains.

“The quest is still on. Now I look out for bells only beyond the ordinary,” he says. “A bell from Mexico is on its way,” he signs off.

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