Ten-Second Takeaway

Seetha Phone Company on Avenue Road is where collectors and vinyl record lovers flock to source gramophones and rare LPs at bargain prices. 

The Music Fades

 

Seethaphone-fOn a busy Saturday, DS Sreenivasa Murthy, the owner of Seetha Phone Company, patiently attends to customers. He spends the afternoon cajoling them into buying his wares, even sulking a little when some walk away empty-handed. Business is brisk. But Murthy tells us that it’s a long way from where it all began in 1924. His father DN Seetharama Setty kicked off his gramophone business with a sale that brought him INR 37! By the 60s, he even set up his own manufacturing unit. But when Setty’s demise put the enterprise into the hands of young Murthy, things began to change.

When the 80s rolled in, gramophones were things of the past. And Seetha Phone Company had moved onto selling sound equipment. When the electronic market started shifting to nearby S.P. Road in the 90s, the store was in for another revamp. This time, it took its current avatar of selling brass figurines.

Play That Record

Seethaphone-in

 

The gramophone business, however, still exists. Murthy’s inherited passion for the instruments has meant that the business has been relegated to a crowded room on top of the brass shop. There, Murthy showcases replicas of antique gramophones and vinyl records to prying journalists and the rare collector. Scouring through the stacks of records, you can find the likes of Diana Ross and M.S. Subbulakshmi along with Italian albums and Glenn Miller concerts at Carnegie Hall. The best part is that they come at throwaway prices {INR 150 – INR 200}.

You can also buy working replicas of age-old gramophones and restored record players {INR 3,500 – INR 4,500}. Murthy will also painstakingly repair your gramophones {provided that the damage is not major}. Also, he takes up repairs only in his spare time, so, don’t expect an overnight delivery.

Divine Interventions

Seetha Phone Company is one of the most sought-after brass shops in the area too. At the entrance, you will be greeted by large statues of Ganesha, Lord Krishna, Nataraj, and Nandi. Inside, on the overcrowded shelves and floor, you’ll bump into figurines of all sizes. There are intricate, miniature figurines about the size of half your pinky finger. And lucky charms like owls and tortoises that fit in the palm of your hand. A real treasure trove this.

Photos: Devika Raman