Collecting stamps

I have a quality, which can be termed as irritating to people around me at times. I go in tangents from the topic of discussion, most of which are in no way related to the present one, often triggered off by a single word or a phrase. It happened again the other day, while I was reading about the plane crash in Yemen. It must have been to find out the route that the plane took to crash into the sea, but I remember looking at the map of the world. That triggered off an interesting thought on stamps and how rare the stamps from Yemen were. Well, I must admit the people around me were kind enough to continue with the discussion on stamps.

Nostalgia, as I would term it, it took me back to those days when I had four books of stamps, labelled and stacked neatly. Sorting them based on countries (India obviously being the one topping the list) and taking a weekly statistics of the number of stamps from each country and the total number of countries “owned” (although the rate at which this changed was rather low) was more like a full time job than a hobby, during those days. Back then, for every letter that was delivered home, our eyes were always on the stamps that it contained. And if it happened to have one which we did not own, the direct consequence was a fight between my brother and I to figure out who will take possession of it this time. Yet another day, we eargerly looked forward to, back then was when my father decided to open his collection of stamps, with plans to distribute some of his “wealth” among the two of us. This usually happened once in a month. He had some of the most exquisite collections that I had ever seen, and perhaps his was the best source for our budding collection.

I also remember how we carefully peeled out a stamp from the envelope. We left it in water for a few mintues to clear off the gum that held the two together. Now that in itself had a science behind it. We soon came to realise that the time taken for the stamp to completely detach itself from the envelope varied from country to country. :-). This process was usually followed by carefully drying the stamps in a “wind-less” environment and then ironing them to get them back to shape, once dry.

Gone are the days when stamp collection was a primary hobby among all school going children. I guess it died a natural death, going down with hand written letters. “Snail mails” as they are now affectionately called, have been completely taken over by the “e-mails” and messaging. Technology has defintely helped bring people closer, but what it took away from a child, were simple memories such as these which stayed on for a lifetime.


~ by Niranjan Nandakumar on July 9, 2009.

6 Responses to “Collecting stamps”

  1. Well, I also feel nostalgic about those days.Now I don’t get any letters with any good stamps.

  2. Every generation will have its own unique thing to remember. πŸ™‚ No more stamps, ya. But what about coins, various sports cards and my favourite: matchbox covers .. πŸ™‚

  3. Go to Singapore and get stamps with your face on it πŸ˜€

  4. My brother used to collect a lot of stamps too, I don’t know where they all went, but he had a pretty good collection, I recollect. I was not that into stamps, my pride and joy during the kiddie days was my collection of WWF trump cards πŸ˜€ Lol, I had so many and I collected them obsessively for a while πŸ™‚ Miss those days. I remember letter coming home too, from various people known to my parents and of us gouging out the stamps, hardly any letters come these days. You are right, emails are convenient, but the romance of letter writing cannot be recreated πŸ™‚

  5. @vmnandakumaran.. technology has truly killed the postal system.

    @Vanchi.. πŸ™‚ And what they have now is PS3 and the associated gaming!

    @Xeres.. Well can I get a postal seal on it too. Thats what makes stamp collection an interesting one!

    @Vaishnavi.. WWF Trump cards! I never collected them although I remember playing games with them! Very true about the charm of letter writing. Writing by hand was something that can be cherished and archived!

  6. I do that too.. veer off on some other topic whilst in the middle of something else πŸ˜›

    Ah I love getting letters.. have preserved every single one I’ve received since I was a kid πŸ˜€

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