Ten-second takeaway

The city’s favourite antique store, Balaji’s, opens a new branch called Virala at Cooke Town.

Students turn masters

Long time customers Oriole Henry and Patrick Wilson have spent many an hour browsing through the overcrowded shelves at Balaji’s. Over the past decade, Henry has even accompanied Balaji’s third-generation proprietor across South India, picking up rare pieces and has organised vintage exhibitions at Raintree. Having had decked up their own homes {space notwithstanding} with pieces they routinely picked up at the age-old store {it  started way back in 1942}, they have now gone on to collaborate with Virala. On their trips to Balaji’s, the duo recount how over endless cups of tea, they’ve been introduced to the stories behind the artefacts. And that’s what they want to recreate at Virala.

Piece together history

Each piece from the curated collection, on display at a spacious home, has been placed in the room it belongs to {so that visualising it in your own space becomes easier}. You’ll enter to see a set of art deco styled chairs, that you’ve probably seen grandpa lounge in, around a foldable English cherrywood table. In the corner, an 1863 map of Asia catches the light from a lamp. Stop by the dining room and the cupboards showcase English and Swedish enamelware sourced from the Chettiars.

Walk over to the bedrooms and you’ll find a vermillion-hued, Kerala bed with massive legs, travelling chests from Burma made from camphor, and heavy Bhuta masks from coastal Karnataka that are used during ancient rituals honouring spirits. There’s also a wall dedicated to what Henry calls “Boys’ Toys” and it’s lined with vintage cameras, gunpowder holders and oil cans with elegantly curved spouts.

Where: 92, Ground Floor, North Road, D’Costa Square, Cooke Town

When: By appointment only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

Contact: +91 9845047917

Price: Starts at INR 800

Check out their website here.

Featured images via: Balaji Antiques


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