In Greek Mythology, Hesperus is the evening star or the planet Venus shining bright in the evening. Through centuries it has been a popular name for ships. But now in India, it is the name of a specialist store that digs out treasures from the
sea to embellish and light up our homes and offices.
If a modern day Captain Archibald Haddock was to retire and build his Marlinspike Hall in Alibag, his first port of call on land would be the Hesperus. He will have the current captain in charge at Hesperus, Abbas, on speed dial and will call him frequently to find which interesting ships are now in Mumbai, Alang, and other ship-breaking yards on the subcontinent.
After all, retired from a life at sea, he will be at home only if his home is surrounded by the quality of the little things that a captain is used to in his cabin. The quality, look and feel of the needful things in a ship is more than sea worthy. They are ready for decades of service on terra firma and if you want them for your home, look no further than Hesperus.
Hesperus set sail in 1982. It was Abbas’ father, Saifee Jarwala who was at the steering wheel then. He was a successful scrap dealer until the ship bug bit him. He not only started Hesperus, over the years, he has also become a serious collector of nautical memorabilia. The Jarwala family has a home in Lonavla, which is shaped like a ship and decorated with his collection.
Over the years, Saifee Jarwala and then Abbas have developed a network of friends who ensure that they get to lay their hands on the best ships that come to be scrapped. Sometimes they get very lucky. Like when they got a British liner from the 1950s. But these days, it is usually ships from the 1980s that are being scrapped. They are mostly Russian and Japanese ships that make their way to the Indian subcontinent these days and soon we will have newer ships. This is bad news for collectors because, after the 80s, it’s the age of plastics and the good stuff is going to be scarce and expensive.
Hesperus’ other treasure trove is the region of Kutch and other parts of Gujarat. There is no shortage yet of the goodies, ships and homes from that the great sea-faring region of India has on offer. Those are expected to last for a lot more years, Abbas predicts.
What will you find in the Hesperus Hoard? The ships provide the best wood that can be used for flooring. The Hesperus has hoarded enough to last a long time. Then, there are the light fixtures. There are hundreds of different varieties to choose from. Ask Abbas to take you to his warehouse and browse through shelf after shelf of the best from different continents. You can also choose from replicas that are made in-house. The glass used is sourced from Firozabad and Hesperus has replicas of select classic lighting fixtures that are cast in a close relative’s foundry.
These days, Saifee visits London often. Thanks to the downturn in Britain, there are a lot of nautical goodies being sold there. In fact, it is now cheaper to get them in Europe than in and around India. Will Captain Haddock be pleased to know?
Then there are the all-time favourites –beautiful clocks and barometers in different shapes and sizes. If you love maps, lithograph prints, bells, old navy memorabilia, the sturdiest wooden cabinets and boxes used for storing charts and tools, trunks, and the most beautiful windows, look no further than Hesperus.
Right now, Abbas is busy refashioning his Hesperus store in the Lakda market opposite Alexandra Cinema in Nagpada, close to Mumbai Central. It should be ready in a couple of months. Here you will find nautical beauties for a fraction of the cost you will at boutiques. They also have a new branch in Babylon, NY. Yes, Hesperus is sailing places and you are welcome aboard!
Text & Photos by : Gopal M.S
Shop No. 103,
Mumbai 400 003
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