KOCHI: Sitting under a patio umbrella which doubles up as his shop, Hamza recollects the past four decades he spent selling antiques in Kochi. Unlike many who shift profession when the going gets tough, this septuagenarian held on to his passion for antiques and traded products like gramophones all over the country.
“Most of these antiques come from different parts of the country to Kozhikode. I have been sourcing the repaired items from my friend’s shops. Some people preserve them passionately. They know its value and might. I get it from them and bring it to Kochi for sale,” says Hamza. Unlike other antique merchants in Kochi, Hamza never charged exorbitant prices for his products. “There are many shops which sell the same products to tourists at inflated rates. Though it’s a business for me, my approach to customers reflects my love towards these materials. I only charge moderate rates for my gramophones,” he says.
Hamza’s family resides at a small house on Francis Road near the old market in Kozhikode. “Both my sons work in the Gulf. My family insists I visit them every week. Usually, I come with a few items and return home after finishing the stock,” he said.
Hamza started the trade in the early 70s and it is business opportunities what brought him to Kochi. “I learnt the trick to repair these products on my own. It is not rocket science. Anyone can fix a gramophone with a few days of hard work. Availability of customers in Kochi helped me to sell the products easily. Besides, discs are abundantly available in the area,” says Hamza who lives at a rented house in Kalamassery.
Despite living in an era dominated by smartphones, Hamza has no plans to move out of the field. “As long as the public love true music and art, I will continue with the business. Apart from the antiques, I sell raincoats and helmets to gain some extra revenue in the monsoon,” said Hamza with a smile.