City Portraits – Tariq Baba, Antique Seller, Clifton

Here’s a man who knows his stuff. Eloquent, Mannerly and Knowledgeable. You can find Tariq Baba – often busy in his chores – in his quiet corner in Park Towers shopping mall. His collection is neat if not grand and his shop is conveniently located.

Tariq Baba has been in antique collection business for years now. He had a shop in Antique Market in Saddar which has been vacated gradually. He tells me that he never liked the market. The inconvenient location with its well documented issues of uncleanliness, traffic and security has made business difficult for proprietors and buyers who take antique collection seriously. After years of managing both his shop in Park towers and Antique Market, Tariq Baba closed the later and now focuses solely on on former.

Park Towers is perhaps the saddest place in Clifton to go shopping now. It reminds me of people who have become redundant in their lives. Those who have lost the false sense of security and relevance and who have to contend with harsh realities of existence. A mere shadow of their glorious past. Tariq Baba’s shop probably would have looked a misfit in glory days of Park Towers but now it looks organic.

Its difficult to find Tariq Baba sitting idle. He shows me around with excitement. There is a clock that belonged to some Russian ship with symbolic hammer and sickle in middle. There are globes which light up. Vinyl record players and radios central space and there are lamps of various sizes. The shop has few paintings too that were integral part of 80’s interior decor. He shows me an exquisite Mantel clock that he has been fixing. The clock must be 80 years old but still strikes the chords perfectly. As the clock hits hour mark, the chimes get in motion and a gentle beat announces the hour. I see a satisfied Tariq Baba in backdrop.

Tariq Baba shuts his shop at 11 and takes rickshaw to Saddar from where he takes another one to get to his room in SITE.

Categories: City Portraits

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