Philately: Old hobbies die hard
Yeah, we are in the age of Whatsapp and social media. The telegram is gone. Sending letters by post is a thing of the past (less than 10 years actually). And collecting stamps is now a lot more expensive hobby and I completely doubt if anybody pursues it now. But then, so many of us did at one point of time.
“Where is my stamp album?” I asked mom couple of days ago.
A standard sized hard cover blue book it is. I forget where I had bought it. A book fair, probably. But I am sure the collection would have begun before the album came into my hands.
It was the usual ‘Re.1 Mahatma Gandhi’ stamps that I can recollect were the oldest in my collection. They were the easiest to get hands on, the most common ones. And there were the ‘Rs.5 Brown Cat’ stamps which seemed to be most widely in use at that time, considering the basic cost of posting a letter inside the country was a Rs.5 stamp.
Those were the days when I used to write a lot of letters, mostly to my pen-friends, a concept which is now dead, thanks to social media. And we would exchange stamps in the letters. If I got a new stamp, I would use it to post my letter and would request them to peel it off the envelope and send it back to me so that it could go in my collection. That’s how the hobby grew.
I remember my father had got me registered with the Philately Department of the Indian Posts in Bhubaneswar. What they did was to send a set of newly released stamps every now and then to the registered philatelists, mostly kids, across the state. Of course, it was not a free service. One had to pay the actual value of the stamps, in advance.
I would go to the bank once every month to deposit my pocket money from the previous month and at the same time would visit the post office and enquire about any new stamps that might have arrived. The Post Officer was a good man and knew me due to the frequent visits. I would buy the new stamps, paste them on a sheet of paper and he would get them stamped with the post mark for me so it could go in my collection. He stopped doing that after a few times, I don’t know why.
Then there had been a philately exhibition once in town. It was fascinating to see those huge collections of international stamps there.
With me moving to Delhi, or probably before that, philately had taken a back seat for me, for reasons unknown. Probably it was simply a growing up thing.
“Should be in the almirah, it’s safe,” mom said. (The safety referred to a termite infestation at a lot of books which had remained in unopened cartons after we moved last year. They digested my entire carom board leaving no trace of its existence apart from some soil- can you believe it?)
So I checked and found my old stamp album- safe.
|The blue covered hard bound stamp album|
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