In the age of instant communication, philately maybe a dying hobby. Its old custodians, though, are doing everything to breathe life into it. Akola resident, 67-year-old Brijmohan Modi, a retired engineer, recently won a silver medal at World Philatelist Exhibition-cum-Competition in Rio de Janeiro.
"I am honoured to be the only one from Maharashtra to take part in this event that saw 600 participants from 50 countries," said Modi, whose collection of about 8000 stamps is themed on architecture. He further said that a team of 40 jurists from different parts of the world judged the exhibition-cum-competition. "My collection depicted architectural history between 3000BC and the 21st century. Stamps tell you a story beautifully," Modi said.
Remembering his initial years of collecting postage stamps, Modi said he began it when he was in school with his friends. "As we grew up, family responsibilities pushed philately to a backburner. In fact, I realized the quality of my collection only in 2000 when I exhibited it at a district level competition in Akola. From there, I went ahead," said Modi.
"I regret the fact that philately is now dying. Today's generation doesn't have a liking to it and it is sad," Modi lamented. "I have a great affection for the postman who at our times also opened the world of philately to us. Internet is killing this hobby," he added.
Modi is of the view that the Department of Post must take initiative in encouraging youngsters to take up this hobby. He and some of his friends also took some workshops on philately but they didn't get much success. According to him, children should realize the importance of a hobby that increases one's knowledge about the world. Also, if possible, philately should be added as a subject in school curriculum, he felt.
He said today's children lacked such hobbies because of their busy schedule. He said, "These hobbies give you company when you are old and alone. Because of philately I never feel alone or sad. It keeps me company in my old age, keeps me occupied and energized".