Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nostalgia: A clock of time

How many generations has the old clock on the wall of the drawing room (photo on the left) of Thekkanattu Parayil, Olavipe seen? Six for sure; seven if it was bought when my great-grandfather Mathoo Tharakan (A judgment.) was still alive.

The clock had always been in the same room in my memory, but at different locations. Originally it was just below the large painting of Mathoo Tharakan. Then it was shifted to the eastern wall. That was its position when my father died of a heart attack in 1959, sitting almost directly below it.

My grandfather PM Avira Tharakan must have purchased the clock from P. Orr & Sons, Madras (Alligator Tails/Tales/Tiles.). Most of his expensive curios and gadgets, which included a kerosene operated KDK fan, came from that source.

Everybody was interested in winding the clock but only two or three people had the clearance to do that. It was a delicate job; overdoing could break the spring. Also, if the upright position of the clock shifted even fractionally, it wouldn’t work correctly. There was a marking on the wall and the pointed lower part of the clock had to be precisely on that line.

After decades of faithful operation, the clock started malfunctioning occasionally. Then the problems became more frequent – the time shown would be incorrect, the chiming would be wrong and so on. There was only one person, Swamy of Broadway, Cochin who knew how to set it right. Soon the clock was at Swamy’s shop for longer periods than it was at home.

It was always brought back, and bravely struggled on. A couple of weeks back when I was at Olavipe, it was not working. Swamy is no more and therefore my brother Jacob is sending the clock to Kothamangalam where, he was told, an expert named George repairs old clocks as a hobby.

The clock was made by Waterbury Clock Company. I think it is British. Below is a photo of our beloved clock.

Photos: Copyright TP. Click on them for enlarged view


Also see: OLAVIPE: Heritage Home of Thekkanattu Parayil Tharakans.


Anup said...

Kerosene operated fans? That's something I had not heard of, maybe you could explain that to interested people like me, would be nice to now about such technology that existed those days. I remember seeing old clocks such as the one that you mention, in my grand father's house back in the seventies. I am not sure what happened to it because years later, no one is clear about where it went. I love these old clocks, even if they work erratically.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Anup, I've posted an explanation on my post yesterday:
Reproductive tourism & other matters