My very first treasure hunt took me to streets of old Hyderabad. This time around, it was Shimla. We traversed the roads of Shimla searching for antique shops. We found one somewhere in Lakkad Bazar, selling brass artefacts. He suggested we look for a shop called Maria Brothers on Mall Road. He told us that the shop doesn’t open regularly and if we are lucky we might find the shop open. And so we began walking searching for Maria Brothers. We did find the shop but unfortunately it was closed.
Not completely disheartened as this time I had asked our local colleague to find out possibles places for us to check out. He took us further down to Lower Mall Road saying there is a place where dealers set up their temporary stalls. So we marched down searching for the place. Finally we reached the stairs opposite Nandan Shawls only to find it empty. We waited there for some time, sipping tea as we sat on the stairs.
We ran out of time as we had a train to catch.. On our way back we found that Maria Brothers shop was open now. Excited we entered the shop. There was a gentleman inside, who I assume was Maria. “Do you have old stamps or postal stationery?” we asked, only to hear a single word response “No”. The gentleman continued to sit at the back of the shop not interested in making conversation. The shop had old magazines, books, paintings, and maps. I asked for prices of a few items and soon knew this wasn’t a bargain shop. The gentleman in his soft voice told me prices that might get quoted by a museum or an upmarket art gallery. We quietly beat a hasty retreat after requesting to take a few pictures as memories of our trip there.
And so yet another unsuccessful treasure hunt came to an end. Until next time, in a different city….