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Ran out of reasons to visit Ahmedabad Let stamps be the new inspiration to visit the city
Postbox at the entrance of the Gandhi Ashram
Postbox at the entrance of the Gandhi Ashram

As a philatelist, my recent trip to Ahmedabad was a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the city's postal service. For this I blame my somewhat ill-timing and an obvious lack of common sense when it was needed the most&mdashas a stamp collector. I have been collecting stamps for more than two decades now, mostly from letters I (may have) forced people to send me or by visiting post offices whenever I see one during my travels. From Colombo to a remote village in Sikkim, I have asked post office employees to show me their good stuff. And not just any stamp, but stamps that are different or had information on them. So when I reached Gandhi Ashram (Sabarmati Ashram) there I saw, right at the entrance, why I needed to get myself a letter from Ahmedabad. For those who don't know, letters posted from the letter-box at the entrance of the ashram will have the unique pictorial cancellation of the 'charkha'. Okay, it is not a postage stamp but for a collector, it's gold. I did not get that gold. 

What further saddened me (read infuriated) was that much later I came to know that there was something called My Stamp wherein one could get their photograph printed on the stamp. For @INR 300, one could get a sheet with 12 personalised stamps which was also the minimum number of stamps one could order. That's minimum 12 times licking the back of one's own head, but who's complaining 

Last year, Sabarmati Ashram celebrated its centenary and philatelists came together to make commemorative covers to mark the occasion. For those who don't know, in philately, covers refer to the outside of the envelope that contains cancelled stamp and a postmark. Again, if you were a stamp enthusiast, you'd understand the importance of a postmark that has the information on the date and place. Add to that a unique mark...

Coming back to My Stamps, these are available only in Gujarat and only in five post offices&mdashGPO, Navrangpura head post office, Maninagar, IIM and Gandhi Ashram. I don't think people in Gujarat are sending out enough letters, for I have none of those aforementioned postal goodies. Also, with gusto, I blame emails and phones, because of which we stopped sending letters. And also my poor knowledge on what's trending in the world of philately. We need to send more letters because from what I know after years of collecting stamps, these are not just small pieces of paper that you lick, these are art and full of interesting trivia. Even though I didn't get time to post myself a letter from Gandhi Ashram, I did ask someone to send me a letter. I should be getting a mail any day now...

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