n 18th century calling bell. Buttons made of sea shells that early British settlers wore in 1777. A Swiss stopwatch made by ROCAR in 1930.
Sushil Kumar Chatterjee’s house in North Kolkata is strewn with these items. Popularly known as Nakku Babu, he is a collector.
Chatterjee, 92, resides in his three-storey house near Hatibagan, Kolkata. The best of his collection gets a place of pride in his ultimate treasure room – now choc-a-bloc with sundry items of yester years.
A graduate of science from Kolkata's Scottish Church College, Chatterjee developed a passion for tinkering at 10 years-old.
“I started with collecting stones. I was fascinated by their odd shapes and picked up pebbles from the streets and woods. Then I developed a fancy for old items,” Chatterjee says.
He took up small roles in jatras (village theatre), Bengali cinema and some part-time jobs in mercantile firms. But in all these years, he pursued his hobby of collecting old items with a single-minded zeal.
He feels that his collectibles take him back to another time, an era gone forever. “I just close my eyes and feel transported to a different era. If I speak to them, they speak with me. I can't express the feeling in words,” says Chatterjee.
Will he consider handing over his collection to the government?
Chatterjee refutes the idea, saying, “Please remember that in our country, the authorities can’t even preserve the Nobel Prize of Rabindranath Tagore.”