I love older things that people have used and cherished. They have personality, character, and soul ~ Anonymous
Tucked away in the hills of Sonapur (about 17 kms from Guwahati City) is a treasure trove of all things old & vintage. Under the tireless efforts of Mr Pickloo Deka over the years, flourishes his dream and hobby of collecting rare gems that occupy pages of history. Called the TREASURED WHEELS, it is his endeavour to collect and offer a peek to the glorious yesteryears to all the interested people of today & tomorrow. He says that he wants to leave behind glimpses of our rich history for the future generation, under one roof.
Having heard quite a lot of this place, I finally set forth one sunny Sunday, to witness the treasure with my own eyes. Now, Sonapur is developing fast as the weekend getaway destination for the Guwahatians, giving us a chance to breathe in some fresh air and sooth our eyes with the greenery all around. So, I reached the gates of TREASURED WHEELS after a smooth drive of about 40 minutes from Guwahati and a very tricky & lil’ scary drive of about 15 minutes uphill as the road leading to the place was under development and was very narrow at many places. But the moment I reached the place I was happy that it was worth it!
The entry gate has a bridge decorated with helmet on both sides. You can even wear one and click a photo, which I obviously did. 🙂 After paying an entrance fee of Rs.100/- per head & chatting a bit with the old man at the gate, I saw the first one of the vintage cars –
As I went uphill, a shining blue Royal Enfield scooter (FANTABULUS) welcomed me. And yes, like many others at the first glance I thought it was a Lambretta later to be corrected by Mr. Pickloo. He explained with pride that many hardcore Royal Enfield fans did not know about this scooter, so I can be easily excused. 🙂 And with this my virtual trip to the yesteryears started. I felt lucky to have witnessed from close quarters many items from the past – cars, bikes, cycles, watches, clocks, cameras, gramophones, steam-run refrigerator, world war memorabilia’s, a piano and many other vintage stuff. You can visit their website here for more information and their Facebook page link is here – TREASURED WHEELS.
The property, along with being a museum, is also a weekend getaway destination offering guided tours of the property, arranging picnic lunches, renting out mobile kitchens, and also having options for a stay-over in their camps as well as the tree house.
The Mobile Kitchens
On the day of my visit, I was lucky enough to meet the man behind Treasured Wheels – Mr Pickloo Deka and he happily showed us around the place and all his prized possessions. My friend who had some knowledge of cars and bikes and the gadgets & vehicles of the 2nd World War, had a fruitful conversation with Mr Deka. On a short notice he even managed to accommodate our request for lunch. The most striking thing that I noticed about him was his philosophy on life. He believes that he might not have the riches of the world like his friends, relatives & colleagues, but he has a sense of satisfaction. He said that we all will leave the world empty-handed just as we came into it, so amassing wealth which he cannot take with him holds lil’ significance for him. But living a life on his own terms and doing the things he love and at the same time creating a history for posterity, he believes he is living his life to the fullest. He said collecting all things vintage, that too with limited resources (his source of income being his salary as a junior Engineer with the Assam State Electricity Board), has proved to be an expensive hobby for him but he has no regrets and that he will continue doing what he loves and enjoys. After all he had been fortunate enough to fulfil his childhood dream. 🙂
Here is a photo-gallery of some of the various vintage beauties I saw & captured (by the way, all the cars & other vehicles and most of the other things are in working condition) –
Right now, the place is in need of funds so that Mr Deka can work on the maintenance & preservation of the items he had collected over the years and fulfill his dream of giving the north east a museum of all things vintage.
After a sumptuous lunch cooked over firewood and lots of philosophical insights into his way of looking at life, we said goodbye to him. All he asked us was to spread a word about his place and that if anyone has anything to donate for his museum he will happily accept it. I left the place with the realization that if a person is really passionate about something he loves, he will give it his best, expecting nothing in return and no matter what the struggles are. Only a person with a big & selfless heart can live such a life with a smile on his face!