CHENNAI: Aman with a serious profession and an engaging hobby, Dr C Raghavan juggles being a dentist and a toy/action figurine collector. From the epic Marvel’s Avengers to Terminators, elite GI-Joes to Batman, Tintin to Dexter’s sister Dee Dee, Chotta Bheem to Smurfs, and a collection of cars, including a vintage ambassador model, he has over 300 collectibles neatly showcased in his house.
So how did he get into this? “I have always been into preserving things and have always been drawn to cartoons. I never grew out of them. I used to get a lot of toys from my relatives in Singapore,” he says. The famous McDonalds freebies were a base for his toy collection. “I got them from Singapore 20 years ago, as they weren’t available in India then,” says the 31-year-old. Though collecting toys has always been a part of his life, Raghavan says that it became a serious hobby only about five years ago. “I realised how much I had and decided to make it a serious hobby. I discovered fellow collectors and the market for toys here,” he recollects. Talking about his collection, he says his first exclusive action figure was the Batman which he bought after the release of the first movie. “I started collecting GI-Joes actively and also collected toys from the present cartoons like Chhota Bheem. The toys from the 90s are much harder to get. Collectibles from the past decades make me feel connected to the past,” he observes.
Raghavan points to the figurines of Abu and Aladdin that look a bit worn out and says that he relates to the characters a lot. “I got them for free with Maggi when I was about 12 years old,” he recalls.
What does it take to maintain collectibles in their pristine form? “I keep them in a separate room and clean them once in a while,” he says. He has no intention of selling his toys unless he has duplicates. “What comes here, stays here,” he exclaims.
With no particular goal in mind, he says that he just collects when he visits different places. He wishes to have the entire miniature Tintin collectible set and says that his most expensive buy was a set of GI-Joe figures and bikes from a collector on eBay, which cost him roughly `15,000. To donate or sell old action figures, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.