As one approaches this freshly minted store, the doors with bookstore-frames on either-side – each crowned a Tibetan lion apiece, sets up the fantasy that‘s about to unfold. Named Basil, because “it’s very refreshing”, as the owner Prakash Mehrotra, explained, it purports one to a Victorian vintage charm, the store being housed in an old building, where the original marble-floor has been retained, certainly adds to the quotient. Just in, the eyes naturally draws to a ‘plank’ – doubling as a coffee-table. That said, the ‘plank’, when it’s revealed originally to be sleeper-wood draws out the eyebrows.
Collected in auction, these sleeper woods are treated – first washed with turpentine oil to clean crevasse and naturally-occurring holes, then cleansed-off with detergent and air-dried. Then of course they are hacked by imagination to elicit conversation.
And as conversation flowed aided by wine and appetizers, personalities like Sujoyprosad Chatterjee, Satrajit Sen, Indroneel Mukherjee, Pranay Baidya and Corrina Poppa, who dropped by, subsequently were drawn in an interactive walk through stream headed by Nina Saxer, who had sourced “some of the pieces at my own home from this very store.”
This 33A, Lake Avenue, wood and brass furniture store also offers handcrafted teak and sturdy sal items, delicate Elm cupboards that have been hand painted in gold, carved Indonesian lions in brass, Buddha and his original five disciples in wood or a resplendent brass Nandi (at the entrance). Inspiration radiates mostly from South-East Asia (save China and Malaysia) while some curios are sourced from interiors of Rajasthan as well as. Buddhist motifs are prominent here said Prakash and when asked why, replied, “because I’m half-Buddhist”, pointing to her mother in Red who was sitting on a sofa overlooking the ‘plank’, and adding, ”She’s right there.”