Friday, August 20, 2010

Moses' army buttons and Rao's Red Buildings

D. H. Rao, numismatist and philatelist, retored civil engineer and passionate heritage conservator has been at the head of the annual Exhibition of coins, stamps, pictures, books, maps and all things antique.

His equally passionate and devoted 'left hand' used to be Raja Seetharaman. We lost him two seasons ago in a freak accident soon after an eventful Madras Week.

Rao's new friends have given him support to carry on with this annual show and this year it is on at Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram in Kilpauk, with the hope that people of this area would step in and enjoy the rare exhibits.

Rao's extra to add to his display this year is his series on Red Buildings of the city. The GPO, State Bank of India, High Court and the Magistrates' Courts, Museum and lot on Patheon campus, etc etc.

Moses was new this year and his collection was small but unique. Buttons of men in the Band and the Artillery which he had picked up at the Pallavaram shady market a decade ago ("nowadays they sell only fowl, cages and plastic so we don't go there anymore", he said when he realised I would want to explore that weekly market. "Those days the Anglos used to sell off such things!"
Moses also had cute lamp stands and pens and a rice measure with ' Madras' markings etched on it.

I realised this Thursday evening how Madras Week seems to create the space for people to showcase objects, records and all things of the past that we would never have got to see.

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