An antique market in Karachi's Saddar sells nostalgia

A definite treasure trove. A walk down the memory lane. A refuge for memorabilia.
Published 23 Apr, 2016 01:53pm

A definite treasure trove. A walk down the memory lane. A refuge for memorabilia. In the heart of Saddar lies a market which sells nostalgia, that too in abundance.

I went there to buy a record pin for a gramophone but ended up buying 105 Long Play records, a typewriter, a Grundig LP Player and radio set and a 1940 Philco teak turntable.

There are two tiny lanes in China shopping mall, which contains ten or so shops selling all kinds of antique items. The mall is at a walking distance from Zainab Market but seen from the road, it hardly looks like an antique market.

Select shops have a collection of old paintings.
Select shops have a collection of old paintings.
Numair finds me a box in which there is an assorted collection of Hindi and English music.
Numair finds me a box in which there is an assorted collection of Hindi and English music.
Statue of the unknown welcomes you at the entrance.
Statue of the unknown welcomes you at the entrance.
I find an Arabic typewriter in one corner of Numair's shop.
I find an Arabic typewriter in one corner of Numair's shop.
Most of the shops open in the afternoon therefore a good time to visit is around 3o'clock.
Most of the shops open in the afternoon therefore a good time to visit is around 3o'clock.
Almost all the shops have a collection of various sizes of clocks but most of them are not working.
Almost all the shops have a collection of various sizes of clocks but most of them are not working.
An old turntable.
An old turntable.

There is a shop selling a new Cannon camera and on the other end, some kind of kitchenware.

But step inside from either of the two openings, and you will see grandfather clocks, ancient radios, typewriters, paintings, gramophones, turntables and collectibles which make their way from someone’s inheritance to these shops.

I had a conversation with Numair, 20, one of the shopkeepers in the market. He studies part-time and runs two shops in the antique market.

Tiny shops can't accommodate the huge collection and it is lying everywhere in the corridors.
Tiny shops can't accommodate the huge collection and it is lying everywhere in the corridors.
The shops reeks of ancient times with old crockery and masks.
The shops reeks of ancient times with old crockery and masks.
A shopkeepers waits for customers to show up.
A shopkeepers waits for customers to show up.
A corner shop inside the market.
A corner shop inside the market.
A shop with musical instruments where I find a pin for my gramophone.
A shop with musical instruments where I find a pin for my gramophone.
A view of a shop inside the market.
A view of a shop inside the market.
Customers show up.
Customers show up.

He asked me about my interests and dug out relevant collectibles from his shop. He told me that he can WhatsApp me more things as he wasn't sure what is making way to his shop next. He also offered to buy any antique items if I had anything lying idle in my house.

I drifted from his shop and explored others. Some of the shops specialised in paintings while some in parts taken out from ships. I found a huge collection of LPs in few shops. There was a discount if you buy them in bulk but I chose to be selective.

There is a old clothing shop inside the heart of the antique market.
There is a old clothing shop inside the heart of the antique market.
Numair's shop is tiny but well-stocked with collectibles.
Numair's shop is tiny but well-stocked with collectibles.
Memorabilia of unknown, the market is full of portraits of unknown which have found their way through different routes to this market.
Memorabilia of unknown, the market is full of portraits of unknown which have found their way through different routes to this market.
We find an old Bob Dylan in Numair's collection and immediately purchase it.
We find an old Bob Dylan in Numair's collection and immediately purchase it.

They had a better collection of Hindi files. I found in a tiny shop, a decent collection of Hindi movies: Guide, Pakeezah Aan, Hum Dono, Silsila, Namak Haram and others.

In another shop, I found some of Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka.

As I walked outside, I wondered how long such antique shops could survive. These shops feed on rich memorabilia which classy denizens of 60s had in use.

In the world of software-driven madness, is someone still manufacturing such classy things?

And, more importantly, are people buying these things?

— All photos by author