Away from the Capital’s busy life, a bunch of veteran stamp collectors used to fulfill each month, in RK Puram, and focus on about and all issues philately together with their collections which have lakhs of stamps. Then, Covid-19 struck, and hit exhausting by the pandemic, this membership not solely halted their conferences, however sadly, additionally misplaced a few of its members within the combat in opposition to the virus. Calling the demise of his membership members as a “big loss to the philatelist community in India,” west Delhi-based philatelist Vinod Sabharwal awaits with hope in his eyes, for the day when he can reunite with the remaining members of this quaint little membership, and get again to exploring and learning stamps, which is already “a dying hobby”.
“Usage of postcards, inland letters and stamps got affected by the coming in of internet and instant messaging,” says Sabharwal, as he sits close to almirahs and drawers, filled with stamps. The love for these tiny papers, which have lengthy and intriguing tales behind them, took over him in 2005 when his kids expressed curiosity within the passion. And shortly he began amassing stamps, postmarks and maxim playing cards from all around the world!
“I used to diligently scan the lanes of the famous Sunday book market at Daryaganj, with my brother, at the spot where stamps were sold along with old and new books,” says the 63-year-old recalling how he used to juggle between his newly discovered ardour and a job within the medical discipline. “After working for 16 years and my retirement, I have several almirah full of stamps of all kinds; their number and value running into several lakhs,” provides Sabharwal.
Most critical philatelists construct their assortment in accordance with a theme, which may very well be something starting from the Mount Everest to the first-ever stamps issued after India’s independence (75 years in the past), and even stamps on religions or Indian saint poets or iconic figures akin to Mahatma Gandhi. All of it will depend on what catches their consideration and curiosity! Take for example Avtar Singh Banga, one other member of this membership, who born in Lahore, undivided India. “One day while walking back home from school, I found a matchbox on the street that had Iranian stamps on it. I remember coming back home and showing it to my elder brother. Uss raat main soo hi nahi saka. Later, I asked my father to get me cancelled stamps from his office because to be able to buy even a one paisa stamp was quite a costly affair in those days. Ek paise ki bhi value thi tab… ghar ka ration aa jata tha ek paise mein! So why would anyone buy stamps with that money? Hence I started collecting used stamps initially, and that’s how my interest in them grew from there.”
At present, Banga’s assortment is way coveted one for any lover of this lengthy misplaced passion. Ask him the entire quantity, and he quips: “Itne hain ki 10 saal mein scan nahi honge! Stamp collection has been the most interesting chapter of my life… But none of my children are interested in philately so I’m trying to quickly sell off most that I have.”
There are some middle-aged Delhiites who’ve additionally been bitten by the bug to gather stamps. One in every of them, Hemant Kumar Godhani, 48, shares, “My uncle used to collect it, so I got interested in it, as it led me to know more about our culture and history. My stamps are now running over three lakhs in number, and have been collected according to themes like plants, dresses, temples, monuments and Gandhi. I have exhibited some of my stamps as well.” And Parminder Singh (Bikku), 52, is one other stamp collector who has been keen on this exercise since he was at school X. “Now I have more than 10 lakh stamps including miniature sheets and mint stamps, from all over the world. I even have tickets of British India, Germany, USA, and other countries.”
“But due to Covid, there’s no money left in the market. Stamps have gone down in estimated value, even halved in price. Now, I have marked the value of each stamp on each folder, so that my children don’t sell it for less after me,” informs Sabharwal, including that his membership had resorted to digital conferences because of Covid-19. “But these online meets lack the charm of physical meetings; where we could in person touch the stamps and talk about them for hours while sipping numerous cups of chai. It was fun to rearrange collections while sitting at home during the many lockdown phases, but how many times can you do that? All the members miss our in-person meetings, and we might resume them when the risk of infection subsides a bit more. Many of us have taken the vaccine shots, too.”
Creator tweets @siddhijainn