How restoring sheen of metal ware became vocation of a Kerala woman in Chennai

Vineetha Nambiar
Vineetha Nambiar. Image courtesy: IANS

Chennai: Vineetha Nambiar is a Keralite settled in Valasaravakkam, Chennai, for the past thirty-five years and is running a unique venture - a rare one of its kind - polishing old metallic wares to make it glitter and turn them into brand new.

Her venture, "Shine O Shine" polishes rare antiques which are painstakingly collected from across the globe. Old vessels, mementos, cups, trophies and even utensils and old wares found in ancestral homes of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are polished and made brand new. They could then be displayed in showcases of homes, shops and even at exhibitions. Some are even finding their way into the living rooms of celebrity homes and five-star hotels.

Vineetha started this business in 2005, taking a cue from her late husband Dinesh Nambiar who was an interior designer and was approached by his clients on whether he could polish and beautify the old metallic wares at their homes and commercial establishments. Dinesh who was engaged full time in his interior design work could not however turn a blind eye to the request from his clients and started this off as a good samaritan venture to help out his clients, but Vineetha had other plans.

The Woman entrepreneur who had shined and polished several metal wares since "Shine O Shine" was operational, started this off as a venture which could later be her main bread earner. Now Vineetha is polishing around 100 kg of old metallic wares a week that include rare antiques, utensils and collectors' items which several people had painstakingly collected from across the globe and also certain materials like old homewares of ancestral homes in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Vineetha while speaking to IANS said, "It was sort of a hobby to start with and we were connected to several people as my husband was in the interior designing business and hence we were asked by his clients on whether we could polish their old wares. This later turned out to be my sole point of earning and that too in a decent manner".

The woman entrepreneur has several celebrity clients from the Tamil and Malayalam film industry including South Indian superstar, Mohanlal who is also an avid collector of old and rare antiques from across the globe. He found that "Shine O Shine" is the place from where he could regain the lost shine of his invaluable collections which are priced at crores and being of huge value globally.

This woman entrepreneur polishes old metallic ware for a vocation.

Tamil and Malayalam actor Jayaram and his wife Parvathy who was once the top heroine of Malayalam movies are other celebrity clients who use the services of Vineetha for polishing all their wares including silver, brass and other metallic materials.

Former Captain of the Indian Cricket Team S. Venkatraghavan who was also a former Umpire who had umpired test cricket and one day internationals, is another regular client at "Shine O Shine" and has recently polished an old utensil of rare value and kept it at their home.

Late T.N, Sheshan, IAS and former Chief Election Commissioner of India and his wife were another prominent clients of "Shine O Shine" and Vineetha and she reminiscence him to be a decent gentleman as a client and was particular that the product he had given to her being spic and span once its polished. He had a good collection of brassware at his place in Chennai.

Now several collectors who buy and resell the old and antique materials are regular clients of Vineetha and the shined and finished products are even being shipped abroad.

Vineetha said, "Recently a huge 'Uruli' (a traditional cookware used extensively in South India and commonly made of clay, copper and bronze) from a Kerala home was polished by us and later it was sold to a major five-star hotel chain who is now displaying this in their reception at their prestigious property in Mumbai."

Sixteen years is a long time in a business and Vineetha has her own workshop where she has employees who work according to the ideas and suggestions provided by her and she vouches that never a day has gone by without work for "Shine O Shine".

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