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January 28 2019
The Revolver Club
Written By The Revolver Club - January 28 2019
Mr Ramesh Kukreja, 72-year-old, is well-known to vinyl heads in Bangalore. A music lover, Kukreja started off by collecting records in his school days and DJing as a college-going boy at a Hotel in the 1960s.
Staring with 200 records in the 1990s he now has over 6000 records at his quaint antique record store. “I will never stop buying and selling records.” says an excited Kukreja.
I have been selling records since 1990. Collecting and listening to records has been a hobby from school days. I loved the sound vibration! the music vibration, the tone, the bass, the treble that's only found in analogue not in digital. With a lot of passion, he says “Records are for Life and we must take care of them."
Back in the days, my family were one of the leading dealers in electronic items and Philips radio. We had two shops and one service centre with 22 staff and a huge turnover. As I continued the business, my children were not keen to take the electronics business forward and they pursued other careers. After trying hard to single-handedly run the business and failing to do so I sold off the two shops and converted the service station to an antique shop which you see today and now sell records and old antique watches here.
Since I had lots of LP Records I had collected over the years, I started keeping it in my shop, people started coming and buying. I realized that this is a very good market and I started venturing into LP records in a full-fledged manner. Later I also added my 3000 antique watch collection to the store that I had collected over the years.
With a happy look on his face, he says “my hobby has now become a business, and I love what I am doing.”
What type of record do you keep?
“I keep all genres of records. Old classical, Regional, Tamil, Telugu, Old Hindi, English, Jazz, Pop”. He reminisces that back in the days, old records cost Rs. 10 and new would be Rs 50. Sometimes if you were lucky people would give it for free as they wanted to get rid of them, so I collected from such people.
He candidly says “Music is my favorite thing”. I don’t know languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada but I still bought those records, because to relish music it is not essential to know the language. And today over the years I know which records are most sought after by people in different language.
People who are record lovers are very different. A buyer of LP Record may not have a player to play it but he will still buy it because he is so attached to it and wants to possess it, keep it close to him. It's a pride that to a record lover to boast and show off his records to people. Another reason is he might not have a player today but he might buy it in the future and maybe at that time the record might not be available or it might become expensive. It’s an expensive hobby, so at one stretch you can’t do everything. So people collect their desired records whenever they get an opportunity.
My Favourite records would be Dev Anand, Talat Mahmood, Hemant Kumar,
Kishore Kumar, Mohd Rafi and Elvis Presley. And at this note we sang a little line from a Dev Anand film - a celebrated Indian actor - called Hum Dono, the line is “Mai Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya” which when translated into English turns out “I went with playing along with life.”
Indians are spread all over the world. People don’t forget their mother language. No matter where they go they love their local music and they still hum and sing. They don’t like to watch music on TV channels or any other digital means. They like to physically buy and play. This is true for record lovers of all age groups. I have NRI Clients based across the globe and Local clients all over India who order records in all different languages.
I get majority orders online. It’s the best medium to connect and do business he says. Shipping is easy and saves money and time for the customer. Marketing online like Facebook and through the website has really helped me increase my business. People place an order online and over the phone. I get a lot of repeat customers. There is trust and my credibility in the market is well known. A lot of times people hear through word of mouth about me and simply come to visit me and see my collection.
In a tone of gratification, he replies “The man who just left is a young musician and he has been purchasing records from me for 20 years now”
He says, people, sit at home and watch music on tv but on tv also they don’t show old music and sometimes when they do its very limited so the next best option for people is to buy a tape recorder or a digital player. Even the Saregama CARVAAN, which has old music is not stereo, it's mp3, and there is a big difference between analogue and digital.
He says when I started as a young boy there were people who loved vinyl and the same holds true today. This market will never go out of fashion because this is the most original and authentic way to enjoy music.
As I concluded my chat with him, he candidly asks me, “Shaheena, why did you guys keep the name “Revolver Club” and after a few seconds of silence, he smiles and asks “Is it because the LP keeps revolving?” and we both had a hearty laugh.
Address: Antique Palace,Bf3,First Floor,Unity Building,J C Road, Bangalore 5600029900707269
- Shaheena Attarwala