Collecting things is a beautiful hobby and has always fascinated me. Philately, the hobby of collecting postage stamps, used to be one of the most respected hobbies when I was in school. I have my own small collection of stamps and coins. My parents enjoyed Old Hindi film music as well as Carnatic devotional music. So, they used to collect audio cassettes. My mother used to collect interesting facts and figures from magazines in the form of paper cutouts.

I grew up dreaming of my own library of books, cassettes and movies. Being a millennial, I have seen the world change rapidly. Half the things that existed when I was a school kid don’t exist anymore. Audio cassettes were first replaced by Audio CDs, then mp3 players and now people just buy subscriptions to stream the songs they like. Films have seen VHS tapes, VCDs, DVDs, BluRay discs and now, they are also available through streaming sites like NetFlix. Stamps are a thing of the past as postal mails are now almost exclusively used for bank and insurance statements. The world has surely changed a lot.

While 21st century advancements have made our lives easier, they have caused enough troubles too. The advent of digital storage of music and movies clubbed with the ineffectiveness of anti-piracy measures have ensured that purchasing these forms of art in their physical form seems like a waste of money. Indi-pop, once a brilliant launchpad for singers and musicians, has ceased to exist as a genre and the concept of launching a music album in India is no more feasible given the fact nobody wants to purchase audio CDs these days.

I have over 70GB of music and over 1TB of movies sourced from various sources. I was once proud of this collection, but have always known they are not legitimate. Hence, the urge to turn legitimate. And it’s not just about legal vs illigeal. These collections don’t really have the emotional value that they could’ve had once! Streaming services are consumption oriented and consumables have very little value associated. You can attach yourself emotionally to something only when you invest your time, money and your heart in it.

Project Originals is an effort to grow a legitimate collection that I can be proud of. This project consists of –

1) Music Originals – Build a legitimate digital music collection by purchasing music in high-quality digital formats like 320 kbps mp3. Although this format doesn’t match up to the audiophile formats like FLAC or WAV, it’s the most convenient format. The convenience of storing and playing music on multiple devices isn’t something I can comporomise on. Wynk is my favorite platform now because it allows me to use the purchased music across all my devices and it offers 320kbps mp3 downloads.

2) Cinema Originals – Build a legitimate collection of movies by purchasing original DVDs and BluRays. I started this almost a decade ago when I used to purchase Moser Baer’s cheap and affordable DVDs. I used to have little money back then, and so owned only a few. A few DVDs that friends borrowed never came back. I’m now trying to revive this hobby to build a large collection of good movies. While Amazon and Flipkart offer a good collection, I am trying to rely on old-school stores as much as possible. That’s the least I can do to help a few offline stores survive.

3) Art Originals –  Build a collection of artworks like sketches and paintings by purchasing directly from artists. This is to ensure I can contribute to the living of artists in my own small way apart from decorating the walls of my house. I am not rich and can’t afford to make big ticket purchases. But, a small painting can always adorn the wall in an elegant way when compared to mass-produced murals or stickers. I have made a humble start with Chitrasanthe aptly serving my needs.

Project Originals is a dream project and an expensive one at that. But, the proud feeling and satisfaction that I’ll have in owning a library of movies and songs that I love is PRICELESS.