Visiting the 50-year-old Milap Chand's house in Chennai is such a special experience that it can compel oneself not to leave the place so easily, especially if the visitor has a liking for fragrance.
Milap Chand has amassed a rare collection of more than 5,000 pieces of perfume bottles of various shapes and sizes from different parts of the world.
It all started when the teenaged Milap, while being on his way to buy a book, chanced to stumble upon a very little perfume bottle lying with a pavement dweller. But on its first sight he got so fascinated that he bought it with the money meant for buying the book.
Little did Milap know that the perfume bottle would make him fall in love with that for the rest of his life. He spent the next three decades colleting distinct varieties of perfumes from every place he could.
This passion has made him addicted to the bottle, of course one of perfume and not the intoxicant brew!
Today Milap's hobby has made it possible to make a claim for fame with a vast collection of 5,000 perfume bottles.
Many of these bottles attract due to their shapes and sizes as some of them are shaped like a cigar pipe, church bell, time bomb, pistol, sports car and even a microphone, form part of Milap's huge collection from around the globe.
He also has the Versaces, Christian Diors, Guccis, Armanis and Hugos as part of his huge collection. Bottles of YSL, Ferrari and Harley Davidson are also some of the notable ones.
Year 2007 is a special one for the fragrance bottle freak as he awaits a reply for an endorsement by the Limca Book of Records, the Indian version of Guinness Book of World Records.
"I have already written to the Limca Book of Records authorities and by God's grace, this year I should fine a place the record book. I have also written to the Guinness Book of World Record. I am likely to hear from them very soon," said Milap Chand.
Milap's house is full of bottles all around, occupying almost all space on the shelves in his house.
Initially, it was not an easy task for Milap as his family did not approve of his hobby saying it nothing but a collection of wastes. But with passage of time they too got interested in the same and helped him in his collection.
Today the large collection is also a stress buster for Milap.
"It is a stress buster for me when ever I feel lonely, I am with them. I never feel lonely when I am in their company. I am happy with the collection and they give me company. It is my stress buster," he added.
Milap Chand has dedicated part of a shelf to perfume bottles that don't look like scent bottles. A portion on another shelf gives exclusive space to bottles, which are accompanied by their smaller versions.
He calls this collection "Bade Miya, Chote Miya" (the small and big gentlemen). Bottles with stylish glass stoppers have been arranged together in another section.
Knowing Milap's penchant for curiously shaped bottles, dealers at Moore Market, the pavement from where he picked up his first collection, sometimes knock at his door. However, most of his collection is the result of weekend scouring at the market.
Perfume bottles from France make up for 90 per cent of his collection. The rest are from other countries.