Pickloo Deka protects and is passionate about the rich collection he possesses. His ‘Treasured Wheels’ museum in Sonapur, Assam houses everything vintage – from cars to radios and more…
By Kavya Nallabrolu
The world escapes the present, when it meets its mistress – past, in the ever-enticing garden of history.
the unfaithfulness is forgiven, the stories are just that pleasurable.
That wailing sound sent fear down the spines of all who were unfortunate enough to hear it –newborns, children, women and men alike. The kind of fear that buds from the bottom of your chest and spreads across it like smoke. It takes over your heart, lungs, arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, skin.
The sound meant helplessness because what can you do when bombs fall from the sky like snowflakes, and you await your death even in the comfort of your home. That unrhythmic sound was far from elusive for a generation of yesteryears but for me, it was loud, at best. For me, the sound of a hand-cranked air-raid siren used during WWII, meant nothing.
It gets you thinking that all these historical relics I was surrounded by have previously interacted with other, older human beings. All dead now, maybe, but all of whom have left their stories attached to these inanimate objects. Stories that were poured onto me by this gentleman named Pickloo Deka, who spends his hard-earned money to preserve all things vintage. But I am getting ahead of myself. This article began writing itself when we visited ‘Treasured Wheels – the North-East Heritage Foundation’ located in Batakuchi N.C, Assam.
Of which Pickloo Deka is the owner. The entrance to this building is hut-shaped and covered with bullet-dented helmets which belonged to soldiers who fought in WWII. As soon as we parked our young car amidstthe vintage beauties, we were warmly greeted by Mr. Deka. He is a high-spirited, glittery-eyed, middle-aged man.
Okay, so maybe his eyes didn’t glitter all the time but they sure did when he talked about this place he has built and the rich vintage collection he protects. Everything from popular cars through the years, motorcycles, foldable cycles used by paratroopers, and of course the infamous hand cranked air-raid siren used in WWII, to old radios, televisions, cameras, sound systems, clocks, fans, pianos, and even the original newspaper printed on 15th August 1947, the first day of independent India.
I know what you’re wondering because we were too – ‘How did such a vast collection come into his possession? When did it all begin?’ So, we asked.
The history of his collection began when he was a boy of mereseven. Coming back from school every day, he saw a vintage car running the streets of Dibrugarh, Assam, his hometown. That car made an ever-lasting impression on him and he made up his mind to buy that car when he grew up. Years later, he found the vehicle somewhere thrown in a jungle, so he had it fished out and repaired it back to life. Whenever he’d drive it around, a crowd would gather to adore it.
This led him to realize that vintage automobiles excite everyone! So, he kept collecting until his backyard had no more space for his old friends. He eventually bought apiece of land, built a wonderful sanctuary for his cars, and paid for it too. I call it a sanctuary because there are several cars that he saved from the ground and now takes care of them to his best.
He continues to persevere through all his hardships because he is truly passionate about these relics and believes that it is important for people to see history live and not just in books or photographs. And I agree with him, because how can you change the present without knowing what was.
I won’t disclose much of the models and the stories behind them, those are for you to discover yourself. But I will say this, I visited the place with no interest in automobiles and returned inspired. It truly is a wonder to see passionate people light up when they talk about their interests. I learned and realized a lot that day.
for my stroll through the garden of history was just that pleasurable.
Mentioned below is the address and socials of ‘Treasured Wheels.’Don’t think twice about it, just copy paste it in Google Maps and drive down. I promise you it’s worth it.
4W85+P6H, Batakuchi N.C., Assam 782402
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She is a designing student, an eager creator. Kavya believes in the power of stories.She loves the possibilities life can present, which keeps her on the constant lookout for new adventures, conversations, and lessons.