95 year old, Sushil Kumar Chatterjee, also fondly known as Naku da is an avid traveller, thinker and collector residing in North Kolkata’s Nalin Sarkar Street. The first floor of his house is so full with collectibles that it makes people difficult to stand.
Starting from old cameras, bioscope, stamps, and photographs to lanterns, watches and many more antiques, Naku da hasn’t left out anything from the past that might not recite a tale. He believes that everything in the room ‘talks’ to him, the tragedies and glories they have been through and their long journeys to the present. Usually clad in a dhoti and a kurta, Naku da makes his visitors feel at home and makes them listen to his childhood tales, a large part of them spent around writers, poets and actors. He started collecting pebbles of different shapes and sizes when he was 10, and the hobby grew with age.
When a visitor enters the room, the first thing that might catch his attention is a set of antique lanterns. Some of them range back to hundred years ago, the smallest ones being used on bicycles and the bigger ones as train signals. He is also an avid collector of photographs, especially rare war photographs. There are almost 2500 pictures of old Kolkata landscape in his room. Some of his very spectacular musical collections include the first headphone that was imported to Kolkata, old folk music instruments and 3000 music records of shellac. The long list of rare collectibles also include a Swiss stopwatch made by ROCAR in 1930, a box of 300 year old buttons made of seashells and an 18th century calling bell made in England.
With such a vast collection, that will take months to study and observe, Naku da is one of the biggest collectors of Kolkata and has shown no sign of slowing down with age.