Indore, May 21
As one enters the home of a 78-year-old man in Madhya Pradesh's Indore city, one is welcomed with the tick-tock and mesmerising sounds of some of the rare and antique clocks collected from across the world, giving an impression as if one has reached the past sitting on a time machine.
The collector, Anil Bhalla, claims to have more than 650 timepieces collected from India and various places abroad, including the US, France, Switzerland, Britain and Germany.
Bhalla told PTI that he inherited the hobby of collection of clocks from his grandfather Hukumat Rai Bhalla, who brought some timepieces to India while pursuing higher studies abroad.
“I bought the first clock of my collection at the age of 16, which was an anniversary clock, requiring winding only once a year. After that I bought clocks whenever I had some extra money," he said.
Bhalla, who has since then kept collecting clocks of different shapes, sizes and colour year after year, said the Limca Book of Records issued him a certificate in 2013 for his rare collection including a 10-feet-tall "grandfather" clock made in France in 1750.
He also claims to have a clock made somewhere around the year 1700.
Bhalla said his collection also includes a unique clock from England made by carving a single piece of wood in 1830 which simultaneously shows the time of 16 major cities of the world through different dials.
While showing his huge collection, he pointed at a clock made in Switzerland which does not need key winding. Another clock is so huge that two persons are required for winding it.
He also has a foreign-made pocket clock, the dial of which has the picture of an engine with 'Railway Timekeeper' printed on it. This clock had specially been made for railway workers, he said.
His collection includes only one Indian made clock, named 'Vande Mataram'. The nearly 65-year-old clock's outer covering is made of pure copper and the images of Gods, Goddesses, Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak have been carved on it.
Bhalla, who has been associated with the automobile business since a long time, said these days he remains busy taking care of his collection of clocks and repairing them.
"My collection also includes some clocks bought in a junked condition from scrap dealers. I managed to get their spare parts from various places in the world and repaired them to make them functional again," he said.
According to Bhalla, more than 650 clocks and watches in his collection are currently in functional condition, but to wind them regularly is not any easy task for him alone. Hence, they are winded only when needed.
"Some people say a non-working clock at home is a bad omen, but I don't believe it," he said.
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