Cool shades under the spotlight

Cool shades under the spotlight

Unique Hobbies

Cool shades under the spotlight

While many of us would indulge in eye wear carefully given that it’s a costly accessory, Ravikanth Shankar’s fetish for sunglasses only keeps growing by the day.

 He has been collecting them since the age of 12 and now owns around 50 pairs of sunglasses from different brands.

His first pair, which he got in 1972, has a story behind it. “I was in the seventh standard and my parents wanted me to travel as much as I could. So I was packed off to Delhi to visit my uncle and aunt for two months along with my grandparents. My aunt wrote to my mother to make sure that I was equipped with a pair of sunglasses to beat the sun rays,” he narrates. 

He recollects how the sunglasses were purchased after much hue and cry as his dad insisted that Ravikanth should stay indoors during the daytime. “He said that I might get sunburnt and the best option would be to stay at home. This way, I didn’t need the sunglasses! My mom, supportive as ever, bought me a simple-looking pair of dark sunglasses. That was my first pair of dark eye wear,” he says.

Later, Ravikanth became a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan as most young boys of his age. “I sported the same hairdo until a few weeks back. My obsession with sunglasses and boots started then after seeing Amitabh wearing black shades. I had to plead with my parents for months together to buy me my first pair of Ray Ban,” he says. 

After this started the quest for more pairs, where Ravikanth wanted to possess every model that Ray Ban released. 

“Those were difficult days and I had to save my meagre pocket money for years together to buy the next pair, but with will power, I made sure that I never used the money for anything else. I became the proud owner of two pairs of Ray Ban over the next few years.

I used to take these glasses out everyday and polish them carefully with the yellow cloth that came along and was extra careful while putting them back into boxes provided,” he recalls. 

   Ravikanth says that he never allowed any of his friends to try them on, lest the shape of the side ear-sticks would change. “I had envious friends because of this,” he jokes.

   After graduating as an engineer, he saw better days and began to pick up a lot more sunglasses, mostly Ray Ban, at various sales. “All my saved pocket money went towards picking up sunglasses. Over a period of time, I had a fairly good collection,” he says.

   Aviators have always been Ravikanth’s favourite. “I have been romancing aviators since all stars sport them – ranging from Amitabh Bachchan to Tom Cruise (in ‘Top Gun’); from Akshay Kumar to Ranbir Kapoor. And I can proudly say that I have most of the collection of aviators released by Ray Ban,” he claims.

One of the rarest pairs that he owns is one which he bought in the 1980s. “It is called ‘Mercury 1’ and has a line across inside, which can be only seen by the person wearing them,” he says. 

His collection includes some sunglasses bought from Frankfurt and Hong Kong. “Of the pairs that I own, the costliest one was for Rs 8,800. And the pairs are in shades varying from blacks, blues, reds and tinted ones,” he explains.

His son Rishab, who grew up idolising him, also began using Ray Ban regularly. “Rishab went to the United Kingdom to pursue his Master’s degree and had a chance to come back to India twice for some projects. On both visits, he bought me a few pairs of the latest Ray Ban sunglasses,” he says. 

   Ravikanth has about 40 Ray Ban glasses of the 50 pairs of sunglasses. “Most of them have been bought by me apart from the ones gifted to me by my son,” he says. 

Ravikanth’s passion has rubbed on to his son and now, Rishab has his own collection of some very good pairs. 

Ask Ravikanth about the pairs he owns and he says that apart from the Ray Ban, he also owns some from Police, Vittorio and Fastrack. 

Ravikanth has a special cupboard for the same and has kept each pair safely. “The whole collection is wiped clean with not even a single scratch on any of the pairs. They are all wrapped in soft cloth to keep them safe,” he says.

Ravikanth is continuously looking to add unique styles to his collection. One of the designs that he’s been waiting to get his hands on is an ‘Outdoorsman’, which has the stick curled around the wearer’s ear, so that the glasses don’t fall off. “I’ve been hunting for this pair but there seem to be none of them around,” he wraps up.