Today I went to post office. After so many years I have sent postcards and these were addressed to 5 strangers from different parts of the world – Finland, USA, Germany, Russia and Taiwan. Thanks to Postcrossing. It is the newfound hobby for a stamp collector like me. I came across few posts on Instagram and got to know about this website. It promotes exchange of postcards between complete strangers from all over the world. Not exactly exchange, because you have to send postcards to Postcrossing members which are selected randomly. In exchange you get postcards from other randomly selected postcrossers. Amazing concept with appropriate execution. If you like sending letters or pen-pal writing then do visit postcrossing and explore the world from your home.
Along with these postcards I posted an envelope with stamps to a person from Indonesia. This is my first exchange of postage stamps. It included Headgears of India Miniature Sheet. Hope it reaches safely. Because it is very large sized MS and I had to use A4 sized envelope.
BTW staff of Udgir Post Office (Udgir – that’s the place where I live) is co-operative in a pleasant way. Even though I reached pretty late in the evening, Clerk told me about exact charges for each postage and gave me suitable tickets for the envelope. I will more frequently visit the post office in the future due to Postage Stamp exchanges and Postcrossing. Very old building but it is going to create few golden memories for me.
About 18 years ago, I was a schoolboy who had plenty of time after the school. I used to study for 1-2 hours daily while listening to music on a cassette player placed right in front of my head (weird but true :p ). I liked the stereo effect of the player and hence my used to be in the perfect center of the right and left speaker. It used to be Eureka moment for me, when I could differentiate between various instruments used in a song. I was hooked on to music of Dil Se, 1947 Earth, Doli Saja Ke Rakhna and few other hits of A.R.Rahman. Apart from listening to music, my day was a humdrum affair. I was in search of new ventures (of course to invest my ample time in them).
After few months into 1999, I started collecting coins. As my collection of India coins (which were in circulation at that time) grew, I started searching for more older coins. It included few visits to Old shops in bustling markets famously known as Chor Baazar or Juna Baazar. There was a friend of mine who used to accompany me to such adventurous visits. This passionate co-conspirator showed me his foreign coins collection and exchanged a few for Indian coins. While showing his collection from a box, I noticed that there was a drawing book in it. Out of curiosity I opened the book and Voila! beautiful stamps. There were many stamps in it kept in between two pages. For an hour we were discussing about these stamps. The Stamp bug had bitten me so hard that my coin collection went to the backtrack and I started collecting Postage stamps.
Those were good times when people used to send letters and email was not yet THE mainstream medium of communication. I started with my local friends and went to everyone’s house to scavenge used envelopes. My father got wind of my new envelope scavenging job and one day he brought few stamps from his office. I was so happy that I kept arranging them and looking at them as if those were most precious possessions for me. Amused by my enthusiasm, next week my father gave me a file, a sticker with my name and address on it and few card-sheets to stick my stamps on them.
Within few months I collected hundreds of stamps. Then a friend of my father (a pro in the game – he told me about the word Philately) gave me few old foreign used stamps. After 3 years I stopped collecting stamps due to college studies and few other reasons. Now after a long hiatus I am reDiscovering the hobby of postage stamp collection. I have started from the basics of philately and I hope you will join me in this journey.