Ramsheed KK’s booth at the Center Square Mall on MG Road is filled with antiques as old as the Tipu Sultan regime. Its coin collection which contains relics of Indian and foreign history and currencies of around 180 countries is also part of the exhibition and sale.
Ramsheed’s exhibit isn’t just about the vanity of these rare pieces, it’s also his source of income. When he was around 14, the youngster was diagnosed with kidney problems. “I was playing with my friends on the school grounds near my home in Nilambur. I suddenly fainted. The local hospital referred me to the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode. They discovered that one of my kidneys had closed completely and the other partially. I’ve been on treatment ever since,” says Ramsheed, who started dialysis when he was just 15.
He had to undergo surgery around the same time to fit the dialysis machine on his hand, as his kidneys were barely functioning. “My kidney transplant took place in 2017. My neighbors and many good Samaritans in Nilambur helped me pay for the operation. Since then, my kidney has been working well,” he says.
Ramsheed’s love of collecting rare items began when he was undergoing dialysis in the hospital three days a week. “I needed something to keep going, a distraction. I couldn’t play or do anything that required physical exertion. So I started collecting stamps, then coins. Later I joined a club in Nilambur where I met other stamp collectors. The club helped me develop my hobby and get more coins and currencies. They even arranged antiquities like those from the Tipu Sultan era and the Travancore kingdoms for my exhibit,” he says.
Ramsheed initially opened his stand to support himself. “I wanted to earn money for my treatment. My mother took care of me until her death. Now I have to be independent. I am also taking a computer course. I will finish it soon and start looking for a job,” he says. But Ramsheed has no intention of ending his hobby or passion for traveling with his collections. “Now I need money to treat my second kidney. The drugs alone cost me Rs 8,000 per month. I need Rs 1.5 lakh to remove the dialysis machine from my hand. The donations and income I collect from this exhibition will be used for this,” he says.
He has already traveled all over Kerala with his collection – Nilambur, Kozhikode in Kochi. In 2019 he visited Delhi with the antiquities. “It was just before the Covid epidemic. During my travels, I meet new people and learn about different cultures and languages. Now I am trying to learn Hindi,” says Ramsheed.
Despite his difficulties, he chooses to continue to look to the future. “It’s my only relief to constantly think about my treatment and my ailments. I came face to face with death once. Now I want to focus on my life to the fullest. The exhibition helps me do that. says Ramsheed.
Exhibition until March 1
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