|Mahatma Gandi - 1 Rs. Stamp|
Irrespective of seeing this stamp at least 1000 times during my childhood and possessing it in at least few dozens quantity, I now have only one such stamp in my collection.
So, then I started looking for more such stamps and to my agony, found that most of the letters that my father receives used to bear this very stamp. Then one of my friend suggested that it was time for us to go and see whether we can get stamps at post office. Again, as kids we were, we didn't know that money could buy stamps (and how many had the courage of asking your parents about that money!). So we started visiting post office and see if we could find some unclaimed/returned mail lying there from which we could gather more stamps. We also had a ritual of visiting a relatively clean dustbin in our area where people used to dump their trash and mining it for envelopes having postal stamps.
Fortunately my parents never interfered in my activities and when they got to know that I was seriously trying to "collect" something, they also started taking extra efforts in figuring out if stamps can be sourced from their friends/relatives/colleagues etc.
By the time I was in 7'th standard, I had a handsome collection of stamps. I made some good friends during that time who used to share similar interest and also lost some due to misunderstandings over exchange and right of possession of stamps:-)
This post can not complete without special mention of my Aunt's father. He used to travel across the globe due to very nature of his job and when he came to know about my hobby, he shared some foreign stamps ranging from Zambia/Japan to Hungary.
We shifted our base from Amaravati to Aurangabad and that is when this beautiful journey found its first roadblock ..