The world under a roof

The world under a roof

Unique hobbies

The world under a roof

He has always been collecting all sorts of things and his house is adorned with these little marvels from across the world. S Thyagarajan’s collection is an eye-opener with uniquely designed sharpeners, intricately detailed keychains and even playing cards. The best part is that he loves to have people over who want to see his collection in person and “touch and feel the story behind each piece”.

The antique metallic pencil sharpeners are predominantly from Australia and the Monterey, USA. “My children live abroad and whenever I visit them, I end up buying a few of these, which I find unique.” Owning about 100 or more of these at the moment, the sharpeners are in attractive designs varying from airplanes and jets to helicopters. There are others shaped like the Eiffel Tower, tanker, skull, ship, tram carriage, iron box and more. “I even own two which are look-alikes of the Great Sphinx in Egypt and the San Francisco Bridge.”

He started collecting the sharpeners more than 15 years back. “I have even sharpeners shaped like a sewing machine, giant bell, lamp, typewriter and even a harp. Any amusing design, which one cannot imagine as a sharpener, gets added to my collection,” he says with a smile.

The antique look of these sharpeners make it a great showpiece as well. “It’s nice to see how people react when they know that these are pencil sharpeners. When I started collecting them, they were more affordable. The one which looks like a commode always evoke laughter.  s. I’m a people’s person and I love it when people are awed by the collection and enjoy it at the same time.”

His collection also includes around 1,000 different keychains, varying from metallic ones to plastic and leather ones. “There are some which one will never find in this country. There’s a cow bell from Switzerland and others from Mexico and South Korea.” He adds that his family has also brought back interesting keychains from their trips abroad like leather ones from Ethiopia. “I have an interesting keychain, which is  ‘Gangajal’ from Gangotri.”

His collection of Laughing Buddha keychains are exotic. “There are also keychains which are very Indian — like the mirror-work ones from Gujarat and the leather ones.” He also picks up these unique items from exhibitions. “I stay away from average-looking keychains, which are commonly available in the market. I like people to be able to see new things and that’s what my collection consists off.”

His world of playing cards are equally fascinating. They come under themes like birds, animals, tankers etc. Most of these are from the US and Australia. “I can proudly say that these are intriguing enough and can hold one’s attention for long. I have interesting card packs from Philadelphia, New York, Tasmania and San Diego. These packs have simple yet different pictures on them that are charming and educative. For example, the pack with animals on them has the animals’ names and their biological names on it, which is like a little fact file,” he says.

How does he choose to add items to the collection? “I buy things which are unique and tell a tale, of the place they are from or other facts related to it. If not, they will be uniquely designed and captivating. They just have to look unique, which makes them stand apart,” he says.

Ask him if there are any particular designs in sharpeners, keychains or playing cards that he wants to buy, and he says that he never plans to buy them. “Usually, anything that catch my eye lands up in my collection.”
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