His fascination with different kinds of knives started when he was barely 12 years old. The ancient craftsmanship and old-time symbolism was what inspired Karthy Prasanna to look for different kinds of knives right from his childhood. As a child, he used to collect unusual varieties of pocket knives but passing it off as a mere pastime, his mother discarded most of them. However, even after years when he continued with his hobby, his parents understood the passion behind the collection.
“It was man’s first tool and he used it to meet most of his needs — food, security, survival and so on. This was what inspired me to take my passion to a different level. Though I was constantly on the lookout for unique specimens, it was only five years ago that I actually started my collection. Currently, I have about 400 different kinds of knives from across the world,” says Karthy. Be it camping or scout knives, each one of his treasured possessions has a story to tell. None of the knives are from India as they are not available here.
Karthy says he read a lot about these knives and wrote to the manufacturers directly to help him with a few pieces. These conversations led to him developing contacts within a span of two years. He talks about how sellers from different parts of the world send him knives with unique patterns and styles. “There are times when I can’t buy just one piece from the retailer, so I end up buying 10 of them. I have a ‘Balisong’ or butterfly knife from Thailand, Ninja stars from Japan, ‘Kukri’ from Nepal as well as a ceremonial knife from Africa.”
So which one is his favourite? “It is very difficult to choose. Every time I get a new piece, it becomes my favourite. My latest addition is a CRKT Fulcrum,” says Karthy. However, he says the fanciest one in his collection is the SOG tactical axe (which are generally used by the US army).His posts on Instagram (with the helpful hashtags) made people with similar interests approach him. They enquired about his collection and how to source such items.
“I don’t display my collection or talk about it to anyone, but if they already know and want to see it, I show off my knives. I get mixed reactions from people; the most common question is ‘why do you collect them’ followed by ‘who are you?’” laughs Karthy, adding “After a few minutes though, there is a kind of fascination reflected on their faces.”
Though his journey looks enthralling, it was not always a smooth ride. From being called a number of times by Customs officials (who eventually understood him to be harmless) to language becoming a big barrier (especially while communicating with people in countries like China), Karthy faced many challenges but nothing seems to have come his way.
He says, “There are many others who have a similar attraction towards knives, it is just that they don’t know how to collect them or perhaps to handle them.” “Once people become more aware, it will also be counted among the mainstream hobbies that people pursue,” adds Karthy.