Not gathering dust

first_imgTheir muse is their mission. Their prized possessions- the collectables they’ve compulsively and so lovingly gathered over the years-remain their pride and joy. They are the heritage collectors of Chandigarh. Take a tour of their heritage Meccas displaying rare antiques. Opinder Kaur SekhonOpinder Kaur SekhonMini PatialaAntique aficionado Opinder Kaur Sekhon,Their muse is their mission. Their prized possessions- the collectables they’ve compulsively and so lovingly gathered over the years-remain their pride and joy. They are the heritage collectors of Chandigarh. Take a tour of their heritage Meccas displaying rare antiques.Opinder Kaur SekhonOpinder Kaur SekhonMini PatialaAntique aficionado Opinder Kaur Sekhon grew up admiring Punjab’s rich rural heritage. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before she started preserving it for future generations. “I’ve always been very connected to my roots. But my passion for antiques bloomed once I got married to a family having a royal connect,” says Opinder, whose husband’s grandfather served the Maharajas of Patiala. The 49-year-old’s collection today is a Mecca of Punjabi antiquity.Sekhon’s home in Chandigarh is a living museum of all things that the royal Patiala of yore has been famous for- from Punjabi juttis and khosas procured from Muktsar, Fazilka, Malout, Rampura and Patiala to intricately woven covers of pettis and sandooks and antique jewellery to 20 pieces of baagh phulkari. But her most valued collection includes 75-year-old Patiala salwar-suits, achkans and rainbow hue ghagras with 75 creases on each of them.The piece de resistance, however, is the ‘gold suit’ that belongs to her husband’s grandmother. She is presently authoring a coffee table book on her collection.Karishma Aggarwal has a collection of 100 Barbie dollsKarishma AggarwalThe Barbie girlWith almost mathematical precision, 13-year-old Karishma Aggarwal enlists the contents of her closet-that stacks around 100 Barbie dolls. “There are Barbies wearing long, flowing gowns, sporting short dresses, some decked up in lehenga cholis or salwar kameez, a Snow-White and even a Britney Spears. Though a few were gifted , I’ve picked most from in and around Chandigarh,” says Karishma. Karishma also possesses a staggering volume of fashion accessories.From laced-up boots, slip-ons and wedges, purses, hats to glittering little tiaras and necklaces, she has it all. She washes, irons and puts on the new dresses on the dolls every evening.”One day, my elder sister Kudrat was reading aloud an article on an American Barbie-collector with 4000 Barbies. I felt an urge to have such a whopping collection too,” elaborates the class seven student of Bhavan Vidyalaya.Gurshinder AulukhGurshinder AulukhNothing is scrapPreserving bits and pieces of Punjabi heritage is an all-consuming passion of 62-year-old Gurshinder Aulakh. Thanks to the collector’s painstaking efforts, her private collection titled Sarmaya- occupies a spacious corner of her resort Aura Vaseela. Besides interesting bric-a-brac that Gurshi’s collected from her various travels across Punjab, the collection also features family heirlooms handed over to her by her mother and mother-in-law. “I was always fascinated by traditional utensils being used in my village,” informs Aulukh, whose love for Punjabi heritage intensified after marriage. “My husband, an I.P.S. Officer, was posted in the Gujarat cadre when we got married. Travelling with him across the state exposed me to its rich heritage,” says Aulukh.She observed that in Punjab people were were trading the golden past for modern stainless steel. The scrap dealers were selling the rich traditional items by their weight at the rates of metal, without realising their worth.The heritage lover’s sensibilities goaded her to make efforts to preserve her culture for the future generations. She started looking around homes, scrap shops and villages. Today, her collection boasts of a rare antiques collected from Bhatinda, Muktsar, Kangra, Jagadhari, Morinda, Kalka, Roopnagar, Sangrur, Pinjore and Kharar. “My favourites include camel kaathees, charkha, a hand pump and a 100-year-old angeethi” says Gurshi, who is encouraging new artistes in varied fields.Gitanjali GillGitanjali GillSilver streakAll that glitters at Gitanjali Gill’s farmhouse in Zirakpur is not gold, but refreshingly silver. Beams the social worker and bauble-lover, who possesses more than 200 antique silver trinkets. “It all started around 11 years back when I was on a vacation in Dalhousie. I came across a local woman wearing unique kanthasand jhumars in silver. This triggered off an interest in silver jewellery,” informs Gill, adding, “These women do not sell their jewellery directly as selling off their ancestral jewellery for financial reasons was a taboo; lest they bring a bad name to the family. Most of these women were selling their jewellery to local goldsmiths and jewellers, who further melted it to make more modern designs.” And so, Gitanjali set off on a collector’s trail, hunting for jewellers who’d sell antique pieces to her. After two years, the lady could boast of more than 180 exquisite pieces: 50-year-old anklets, jhumars, swirling neckpieces, kanthas and rani haars. “There’s even an antique hairclip and an ear cleaner in pure silver, sourced from Banikhet in Chamba,” avers the proud collector.Imranjyot SinghImranjyot SinghMan of coinsHis love and ongoing efforts for collecting coins from around the world is all-consuming. But, perhaps, documenting history runs in the blood of 16-year-old Imranjyot Singh. Son of Opinder Kaur who’s been relentlessly collecting bits and pieces of Punjab’s glorious past, the medical student from the Lawrence School Sanawar, has 250 antique coins dating back to 1776. Imranjyot has a wide range of rare coins from almost parts of the globe-U.S.A, Canada, UK and Mauritius. His collection also include a wide range-Files of Jorden, Dines, Cents and quarter Dollars from USA-dating back to 1776, Devtsche Mark, Republique Francise, Canadian and Sri Lankan cents, Malasian Sens and Bahrains, Australian Florin and South African Rands. Imran’s most valued collection includes Indian one Rupee coins dating back to 1907. Recalls Imranjyot, “It all started at a very young age, when I was sitting with my maternal grandfather and watching a programme on coin collection on Discovery Channel,” smiles the young collector.advertisementadvertisementlast_img

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