Noku Babu’s grand collection

There are so many old things in this city which is difficult to see in one place. If you want to see those antique items in one place or in one room, meet Sushil Kumar Chatterjee popularly known as Noku Babu, a nonegarian residing at North Calcutta (now Kolkata) whose grand collection will easily startle you.

29518FDC-E676-41F8-901B-61759173C753_1_105_c
Collections at Noku Babu’s house

A science graduate from Vidyasagar College, Noku Babu is a collector of a variety of items ranging from simple lantern to musical instruments roughly from 1880 to 1960. Many of today’s generation possibly may not not have seen those antique items; but a visit to Noku Babu’s house will make your dream come true. I have been to his house a few times and, on in each occasion I had the opportunity to see these valued treasures and heard stories of yester years of Calcutta from him.

F35A79F1-BB39-4D8B-94C7-EB2D6FADED4A_1_105_c
Petromax Hazak
243DE140-74D3-4CAD-97CA-39710F3B7EB8_1_105_c
Lantern

During one of my visits I came across a Petromax hazak lamp which I have seen in Bawali Rajbari. He informed me that this type of hazak lamp was used to lighten up the famous Dakshineswar Temple in the early thirties of the last century. Apart from that I found a number of lanterns of different shapes and sizes and most of them are operational. They are hanging from a stand of old bed in his room. There are also a number of signalling instruments, torches, cameras, projector machines, radio, microscope and an old gramophone player with its corresponding records. Surprisingly it is very much functional.

3FC4E033-62A3-4767-8910-91C168B7ACF8_1_105_c
A gramophone record player.
7C818956-392C-4E5F-A28C-9FB838525B7B_1_105_c
Noku Babu at his room.

Noku Babu was very kind to let me hear an old song from one of his old gramophone machines. There is even a headphone in his collection which he told was used in 1945 after World War II. I asked him when did he start collecting these items. He told me that he started collecting different types of leaves, butterflies and other items when he was just 8 or 9 years old. I found the items in spick and span condition. When asked, he informed me that he himself cleaned those items. There is even an accordion possibly made in Poland in 1885. I found different types of music and film related gadgets in his collection. Apart from that there is a number of stone idols and some of which are made of touch stone. There are also old photographs. I had seen a beautiful Krishna idol which is made of kostipathar. All his prized possessions are kept in a room in the first floor of the house Ushalay at Shyam Mitra Lane in North Kolkata. He named his room as Atiter Ashray or “Shelter of the past”. I simply could not imagine how a couple of hours passed talking with this grand old gentleman and looking at his invaluable collection.

Date of Posting: 30th October, 2020.

Published by

kinjalbose

I am an amateur photographer. I like to visit places to see the unseen and know the unknown and capture the memory in my camera.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s