I am Bala Gopal, a UI designer by profession and an artist by passion. It’s no wonder that I am a big fan of the place and the person who is moulding and resurrecting the antique world – YK sir, as I fondly call him. I am not fluent and knowledgeable about the antique world, but I am a big fan of art and design. So, this blog post isn’t about the technicalities of antiques but my connection and feel with the place I so cherish. Read on…
A House Full of Surprises – First Impressions!!
A chance meeting with my friend Vinay landed me at the gates of YK Antiques. The moment I entered the place I knew things were waiting to meet me – so many antiques at one place!! It looked like a one-stop place for antique hunters and lovers. I formally met the place and my dearest YK sir. At our first meeting, the beauty of the place overtook the pleasantries we both exchanged. I could hardly keep up with formalities. My eyes were racing through each object that was displayed. I was already mentally creating background colors for the walls on which they were displayed.
As if YK sir was telepathizing with me, he asked my two cents on the colour palette to make the place a little sunny-side-up. Incidentally, the place was going through renovation. I jump-started and put forward all my cents (as if I was waiting for YK sir to ask me) on what colours to use to make the place look contemporary yet preserving the antiqueness. I suggested deep yellow as the background color and white for the shelves. I was able to convince them.
YK sir toured us around the house. Every antique has a story woven around it. More than YK sir’s collection, it’s his stories of each antique that made them more interesting. It’s a collection of a man dedicated to collecting antiques that reflect our culture and tradition over the period of 30+ years for future generations. The uniqueness of the place is the freedom to interact with each antique. There’s no ‘Do Not Touch’ board and there are no do’s and don’ts. You can simply go around the house and feel the ancient beat in each antique.
While we were simply absorbing the quaint beauty of the place, the great finds of YK sir, his stories, YK sir offered us steaming filter coffee in a brass filter. To our astonishment, the dining table on which we were served coffee happens to be a huge gangalam with a glass top. It really is the place that deserves all eyes because it’s not everyday that you come across such home-antiques to share with future generations that reaffirms and strengthens that the future of our ancient culture is indeed in safe hands. This visit had a profound impact on me and took me down the memory lane when I used to play with wooden toys and brass vessels.
Second Visit and My Maiden Project with YK Antiques
Antique collection can take many forms and they speak volumes about the collector if displayed properly. I am grateful to YK sir that he incorporated my suggestion on the wall and shelf colours. On our second visit, the place only looked more beautiful, brighter, and warmer.
Besides being aesthetically stunning, the place needed some rearrangement of big plates on the walls, which were otherwise lying scattered on the floor. We took it as our first project. I did a couple of sketches on how we can hang those plates on the walls and showed it to YK sir. He liked the idea and we started working on it. I used curtain rods and knob edges to rest the plates on either side. With all the tools handy, ideas brimming, freedom to try out what I want to, and YK sir’s exuberant smile, my first project with YK Antiques was very successful. Here’s a look at our work:
Our Consequent Visits and The Wall Art
Our regular visits to YK Antiques created a deep sense of attachment with the place and YK sir. We were so grateful that YK sir let us be ourselves and literally made us feel at home. One day, I took Ganga and Yamuna to have a first-hand experience with the place and they too were thrilled to see the place. Ganga is my wife and Yamuna is Ganga’s twin sister. Sir toured us around the house, and we all shared stories on antiques with each other. At the end of the visit, all three of us were left inspired and attached to the place wanting to contribute to the place. By the way, while Ganga is an artist, Yamuna is a writer. With this combination of art, design, and writing, we satisfied our creative sides through YK Antiques.
The Wall Art
YK sir suggested we paint the wall in the lawn area. We were so excited and started off with brainstorming, followed by sketches and exploration of color palette. The sheer beauty of our brush strokes and the subtle emotions in our color choices were at full display. We wanted the wall to breathe Indian-ness, so we chose to paint the kathakali face with elephant and peacock as accompaniments. It added a dash of warmth, subtlety, and exclusivity to an otherwise plain wall. This project is close to our hearts for many reasons. Here are some pics:
To read more about our Wall Art Project, click here.
Memories of Moments at YK Antiques
All our work at YK Antiques is a natural extension of the spirit of family we began to feel for YK sir. We didn’t count on time spent or the heat of travelling very often. Personally, I have been enriched with experiences, stories, and expertise of YK sir. One such experience was redoing the lawn area with stones and grass. We were very new to the kind of hard work that goes into the picture-perfect green lawns we sometimes see in pictures. My great experience was spending time with YK sir, driving through the lanes of old Alwal on a two-wheeler to buy stuff required for the green lawn, listening to the stories of old buildings from YK sir and the list goes on.
From buying shabad stones and garden soil to buying lawn grass, each moment was a treasure. As we were all new to this and the gardener we hired refused to lay the grass on the lawn, we decided to dirty our hands. While Vinay and I cut the grass to the size we need, sir helped us do it. The lawn was ready – beautiful and green. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. Some pictures of our work:
Hum-Sab-ki-Wali – Diwali
We celebrated some special moments at YK Antiques. We celebrated Diwali with bright diyas, colourful Rangoli by Ganga and Yamuna, flower decorations, lights, and the beautiful antiques cheering up the spirit of festivity and our happiness. Some pictures for you:
The Go-to Place on Weekends
Be it for work, listening to the stories of antiques, staying overnight, or just to meet and have conversations, YK sir and this place were always welcoming. It soon became our go-to place on weekends. Some of our work on display at YK Antiques and work in progress pictures:
YK Logo Design and Some Design Surprises
YK sir once mentioned that he would like to have a logo designed for YK Antiques that reflects his passion for antiques. We took this as an opportunity to give back to the place that has been a second home for us. Ganga and I designed a logo with intricate patterns which is now used for YKA’s online and print presence. Here’s the logo we designed:
We also made tiny foldable visiting cards for YK sir as he travels a lot and these cards would be handy to introduce YK Antiques as the go-to place for antique lovers. Here’s how they look:
Now, bookmarks & pocket calendar! As a return gift for people who visit YK Antiques, we created some bookmarks with notes penned by Yamuna and a calendar behind. This has been a popular pick and we always go out of stock. Have a look:
The Name Plate – Indeed a Surprise for YK Sir
We decided to surprise YK sir by making a nameplate for YK Antiques. As we have been branding the place as a home museum, we needed to have a nameplate. We pooled in all the contacts, got it carved with the logo we made, painted suitable colors to reflect antiques and home museum. We fixed brass knobs on either sides and that’s how things created out of pure love look like:
Most of our work at YK Antiques was never planned. We always jumped into doing something and then fine-tuned our ideas. YK sir has always been generous and encouraged us.
A Day to Remember
We were thrilled when YK sir asked us to assist and host a group of visitors from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS Mumbai), organized by Hyderabad Urban Lab (HUL). We were nervous but at the same time full of energy and enthu to go for it.
We spent days and nights making posters on YK Antiques – its past and present. While Yamuna handled researching and writing about YK Antiques, I was handling creating layouts, printing and framing. On the big day, we arrived early and looked after arrangements for poster display, snacks and chai, and a surprise calendar as a takeaway for the visitors. When the students arrived, we welcomed them and introduced ourselves. The awe of the students was evident as soon as they entered through the main door. If you have ever been to YK Antiques, you would by now realise that the main entrance door is an antique in itself.
YK sir walked them through each of his collectables so gently preserved over the years, narrated beautiful stories about them and left everyone spellbound. Though we heard the stories a lot of times by then, we were as amazed as we had been in our first meeting with YK Antiques. That’s the beauty of the place. The students were delighted that they could touch those antiques.
Overall, it was a great experience for us. The student-visitors liked the place very much. As a token of appreciation, TISS wrote a cheque for YK Antiques. It was the first-ever honor for YK Antiques and YK sir still treasures it as the most memorable visit.
The Dream Team
Now about the team that loves YK Antiques as much as they love their own homes.
The Captain of the ship, YK sir: A man in his 80s with a spirit of 20s. I bet you wouldn’t know he is an 80-year young guy if you are a first timer to YK Antiques. That’s how well he keeps his spirits high and shows us that age is just a number. He has a genuine affection and respect for everyone. More than anything, he is a fantastic listener.
Me: You have had enough introduction by now and you will get to know me better at the end of my blog.
Vinay: A great friend with an impeccable sense of humor. He is the one who introduced us to YK sir. He has been a key role player in shaping YK’s online presence and making it a home museum.
Satya: The Video Man! He is the one responsible for all the videos of YK Antiques. A guy with infinite patience.
Karthik: The go-to person for all things tech. He’s extremely resourceful with his knowledge on blog-posting, hosting of the website and all other tech aspects. He also happens to be our common friend.
Ganga and Yamuna: The ‘twin’ artists. While Ganga is a practising artist, Yamuna is a passionate writer and photographer. The wall art by Ganga and team continues to draw appreciation from every visitor even now. Yamuna has taken some of the best photographs that are displayed in social media posts on YK Antiques. She continues to contribute to YK Antiques.
There are many more friends like us who contributed to YK Antiques for what it is today.
My Ranting Never Ends about YK
When I started writing this blog, I was overwhelmed by too many stories I have in my memory on YK Antiques. I couldn’t pick up one and leave out others. But I shared the most important ones in this blog to let you feel the beauty of the place.
While I continue to keep in touch with YK sir and YK Antiques, I always reflect on how wonderfully the place has transformed me into the person I am. I met some great people, had great conversations on art and design, and contributed to the place in my capacity as an artist and a designer. It made me realise that I can do things beyond my capabilities. This is my ongoing story with YK Antiques, and I am sure whoever has visited YK Antiques will have a story to share. If you are willing to share, I would love to read them.
I also feel we have the responsibility to access and make places like these accessible to everyone. I encourage you to visit this place to explore our rich culture and heritage reflected in the craft and use of each antique. I strongly feel this place should be made as one of the must-visit places in Hyderabad for the kind of cultural renaissance it’s bringing about. Let’s all make it a cultural hub!
Look at what I do in my daily life…
I love the world of art and design, it allows me to learn, solve, share and appreciate every day. I engage with people/activities that allow me to explore possibilities, provide solutions to keep the design geek in me alive. I enjoy trying my hands at crafting things in everyday life.
Thank you Sandhya for patiently editing my article and helping me put this together.