I never knew my nana, my maternal grandfather. Everything I know about him is through conversations with my mother. His name was Sri Ram Puri and he worked as an engineer with the royal families in Punjab and Rajasthan. This gramophone belonged to him.
At first, when I found it in a drawer in the house, I thought it was an old receipt. But as I unfolded it, I was stunned by the beauty of the paper. This was no old receipt, and when I held it out to my mother, she recognized it straightaway! This is called ‘Sehra’ or a ‘Subhaag Sehra’ to be precise.
Traditional perfumers believe that an attar not stored in the kuppi was ‘essentially ruined’. The leather would absorb any extra moisture, allowing water to evaporate and only attar in its truest scent, to remain.
“We still have its shoe from its breaking in”, continued Nana ji. Suddenly, I stopped laughing and tried to absorb what that meant. An old horseshoe was brought out and passed around the room. It was made of solid iron, and I could still see the ridges on the curved edge. The metal felt cold in my hands while the realisation sank in that I was holding an object which was more than a century old.