Time travel with music notes

What connects the iconic Dadar-based Maharashtra Watch and Gramophone Co with Indian classical music? Surekha S met up with its owners who spoke about their 80-year-old musical legacy

They no longer sell watches, while the lone gramophone inside occupies a pride of place for sentimental reasons. One of Dadar's lesser-known landmarks, Maharashtra Watch and Gramophone Company's association with music dates back to nearly a century.

Nitin Waghmode,  Shyam Waghmode and Shyam's son Aniket at the
store Pics/ Ashish Rane

The connect is fascinating: run a scan through listings of the city's most popular Indian music concerts and you will find that their passes are available at this enterprise that carries the tag of a watch store. The store, which hasn't shifted from Dadar since 1929, boasts of a very large music collection, both Indian and Western, and is still frequented by music lovers and musicians who have been coming to the store for decades.

Music for the masses
Though the store began as a watch company, their association with music became legendary. SK Waghmode started the store opposite Plaza Theatre in Dadar, by repairing watches with barely a table and stool. "He learnt to repair watches and in those days very few people owned watches," informs Shyam Wagmode, one of the owners of the store.

"Soon, he ventured into music and started selling gramophones. He became an HMV dealer," says co-owner Nitin Waghmode, who is also one of the grandsons of SK Waghmode. From then, the store's association with music only grew over time.

About 10 years ago, Pancham Nishad Creatives approached them to stock passes for an event they had organised. "We readily agreed. We thought it was the least we could do for music. And since our store is situated in the centre of the city and is frequented by music lovers, we felt we can help them learn about such events," says Shyam.

Since then, several organisers have approached them to keep passes for different concerts. "We don't charge a penny from them. We feel we are just helping spread the joy of music and we are extremely happy about it," he adds.

Watch this space
Apart from the huge music collection, its tough to miss the large gramophone on the mantle, flanked by photographs of KL Saigal and Lata Mangeshkar. "This is the God and Goddess of Indian music," points out Shyam. Below the mantle, the wall is adorned with photographs of musicians who have visited the store including Kishori Amonkar, Shreya Ghoshal, Shubha Mudgal and more.

A photograph of Shyam seated with Lata Mangeshkar at her home and a photocopy of a cheque worth Rs 4,300, with her signature caught our eye. "It was an unforgettable experience," reminisces Shyam. Lata didi wanted to gift a few of her CDs to friends, and was unable to locate them.

So, a friend of hers suggested she contact us, since we were known to have most of her collection. When I spoke with her, I assured her that I would give her all that she wants, on the condition that we get to deliver it in person. She agreed. It was an ecstatic moment," recalls Shyam adding, "I didn't feel like encashing the cheque. Finally, after she threatened to never buy anything from us, we decided to take a photocopy of it and encash it."

Music collection
Maharashtra Watch & Gramophone Co stocks a wide range of music including Marathi Bhav Geet, Marathi film, Indian classical music, Bollywood music, Western classical music and English music. They also have Bhajans and instrumental music. They have a large collection of Bollywood movies, Hollywood movies, children's films and dramas as well.

Time: 10 am to 8.30 pm
At: Nakshatra Mall, Dadar (W).
Call: 66625661 / 24223011

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