“I found many treasures in the woods over the years: shotgun shells, empty Colt 45 bottles, old railroad spikes, orange and black beetles eating a dead mouse, pebbles that looked just like teeth, old stone walls and cellar holes, a rusted out frying pan, the skull of a cat.”
~ Jennifer McMahon
If you read the above lines carefully and contemplate over it, you will understand what treasure is embraced inside each word, the one that reflects our lives. Similarly, Pickloo has an intense affection for the treasures he has preserved for years. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, over the remote forests of Tepesia, Sonapur, and beforehand the Amchung Wildlife Sanctuary, lies a vintage paradise called ‘Treasured Wheels’, which is a unique center compiled with ancient and a vintage collection of things.
This month our PCA group decided to visit Treasured Wheels and have a conversation which this person called Pickloo Deka, who is the owner, caretaker, and the father of all the vintage stuff he has preserved for years. From the early part of the 20th century, we found a rare collection of watches, cameras, motorcycles, cars, bicycles, radio, and lot other stuff which are extinct presently. We saw the rust-filled car bonnets, broken headlights, and the torn seats those scream and tell their stories.
“I had a wild fascination on old things those people sell to scraps,” says Pickloo. “Thirty years ago, I saw the first vintage car in my life which was abandoned by a businessman in Dibrugarh.” he continues. “Since that time, collecting such rare and old gems became a primary dream. I started assembling such things, and people who are my well-wishers started donating me the same stuff.” Pickloo states.
“I am an ordinary person like anyone of you. I don’t have my own house and all my wages are spent on sustaining these treasures and collecting them. I don’t believe that building my own house will make me rich. After all, I cannot take my possessions with me after death. All the things I have preserved till years are not the only mine, they are also yours. So it’s also your responsibility to protect them.” Pickloo says.
But the unfortunate part is when Pickloo received the land evacuation notice, where he was threatened to withdraw the land and his possessions or else, they will destroy it in 2 days. Pathetic enough. He had legally purchased the land to preserve these stuff. If Pickloo desires, he can trade all his antiques for a fat money and lead a luxurious life. But he didn’t. Pickloo has not preserved these for fame or money, but this only motive is to adopt the antiques and scraps and recycle them for a green living.
Another amazing fact is, Treasured Wheels do not run with electricity, interestingly, it uses solar energy to put on the lights. They built treehouses for visitors to halt and enjoy their stay, and everything that they use is recycled or adopted stuff, only except for the bricks and cement.
Treasured wheels is a North-East heritage foundation where there are about 60 cars, 54 motorbikes, 10 bicycles, 20 wall clocks, 32 watches, 5 gramophones, 5 radio sets, 5 fans, one piano and a voice recorder. And they are entirely antiquated stuff. In this day and age, all schools and institutions visit the common hall museums, but this vintage paradise would entirely be a different experience for them. Between the lush green trees and a natural atmosphere, you can experience the essence of antiques that still lie and express their stories.
“I have not collected these items to become rich and look after myself and my family with the money these items could have brought. I wanted to showcase them in a museum in this gateway to Northeast India, now it’s established in 2001”, states Pickloo in his website.
All I want to represent is, please help Treasured Wheels attain the worth it deserves because it’s only us, who can help it obtain its place in the world heritage and make Assam and India proud. After all, there’s no other place where you can discover these rare gems.
**All images are Copyrighted to Priyanka Bhowmick.