CHENNAI: Bringing back to life a vintage typewriter from the late 1960s, obtained from the Czech Republic, is just one of the many fascinating projects undertaken by cousins Archana Bikkina and Keerthana Gadde. The Consul typewriter, which comes in a soft blue shade, reminded us of the one that Cate Blanchett’s character used to type fervently in the period show Mrs America! “We found it slightly tattered and in need of care. What followed was a patient wait to find all the parts and restore it, until it was in the perfect condition that you now see it in,” elaborates Keerthana, who studied engineering and has a degree in Master of Business Administration, just like Archana.
Their love for old teakwood cupboards, lampshades, and pestle and mortar are the stuff of grandmother’s tales. The duo teamed up to open their virtual store Rewind Gallery, on Instagram, almost a year ago. Their love for all things antique is in the details, which is evident in the descriptions. “The keys are precise and light, while the line space lever is easy to catch with your fingers,” says the caption for the aforementioned typewriter. The duo has been engaged in restoring charming yesteryear knick-knacks, furniture, brass and copper vessels — some of which date back to the 1800s. Keeping its vintage value intact, some collectibles are given an artistic contemporary touch.
Growing up in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, Archana and Keerthana have seen their families treasure antiques. When they realised that this was their calling, they gave up their corporate jobs to start the venture. While Archana runs the show from Hyderabad, Keerthana operates from Rajahmundry. Together, they research and study the antiques in great detail to establish its source before they start working on it.
“So many people prefer to just melt these items that hold so much vintage value; it is an absolute loss. Instead of doing that, we clean it and restore in a way that the original beauty is retained,” shares Archana. Their team of skilled artisans helps them restore the antique, no matter how challenging the damages. In their hunt, they have found discarded teakwood cupboards full of dirt in many nooks and crannies of Andhra Pradesh. Sometimes the items are over 80 years old, she tells us. Besides buying the object of interest, patrons too are eager to gain precious information about the provenance, fascinating history and story behind the antique piece.
Like a sepia-toned photograph of the century gone by, some of the pieces like the antique abhishek patra and rosewater sprinkler (panner buddi) or brass lassi glasses with parrot motifs come intricate carvings on them. “Some of the teakwood pieces, which are over 120 years old, have their origins in Burma,” shares Archana, adding that these pieces accentuate the living room decor, giving a dash of warmth with their dark brown hue. The familiarity is sure to unlock some childhood memories that you might have stacked away in your mind, like these once discarded antiques, now restored.
Rewind Gallery delivers across India and internationally.
Rs 500 to Rs 2,00,000.