Wednesday, February 13, 2008

75 Years of the Indian Airforce.

Its only so long that I will be able to use to excuse of setting things in order before starting to post more regularly. :)

And it is time I put up some more stamps of India. I have written earlier about the Philatelic account I have with India Post and so on coming back, I was surrounded with the stamps released by India over the past five months.

One of the neat sheets I got was this one released on the Platinum Jubilee (1932 - 2007) of the Indian Air Force.

The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932. But by the time they actually got around to flying their planes it was 1st April 1933. So it's probably apt that I got the 75 years of the Air force in 2008! The IAF inetially compromised of six RAF-trained officers and 19 Havai Sepoys (air soldiers) and four Wapiti Airplanes. The Wapiti is thus aptly pictured on the main sheet on the lower left.

The others featured on the main sheet from top Left are the Dhruv, the AWACS and an IL 78 refuelling two Su-30 airplanes.

The neat thing about this sheet, is that on either sides of the sheet, are the pictures of the planes that have accompanied the IAF in this 75 years journey. The planes on the left side from top to bottom are: The Toofani , Mi 26 Helicopter (The biggest Helicopter in the world) , Gnat, Packet (C 119), Hunter and the Jaguar.

On the Right from top to bottom are: Dakota DC-3, Mig 21, AN 32, Mirage 2000, Vampire 52 and finally the Mig 25 (Foxbat).

A very comprehensive history of the IAF can be found here on the IAF website.

As you can see the FDC released on the occasion is a stunner as well. When taken with the previous released stamps and FDCs of the humble Gnat, 16 Sqn of the Air force and the sheet released on the 100 years of Man's first flight, the sheet finds itself in good company.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New links

Over the last few months I have been mailing to a lot of new friends and today I added two of their links on the left out here.

The first is Glenn from canada who has a nice blog about postcards. He is trying to collect cards from all over.

Secondly I have put a link to Zhou fan's blog. He is a new friend from China and has been sending me covers from that country on a regular basis.

Thanks to the both of you!

In case I have missed out links of any of you, please do write in and I'll put it up.


I don't think its ever going to be possible to show all the mail that has come in during my absence, but I'll try to put a few of them over the next few days. Today I'm showing this amazing cover and sheet sent to me by Kalpana from Germany. I had posted the sole Tintin stamp on my blog earlier and Kalpana had offered to send across the sheet. I collect comic stamps and am a huge fan of Tintin, so I was thrilled to receive this.

Cotard and Eric also sent me the sheet in mint condition (Thanks to the two of them) but enclosed in the cover was the sheet of Tintin comic covers that I didn't even know was out. It is an amazing sheet and I am eternally grateful to Kalpana for this.

Tintin is one of the most recognisable figure in all fiction and since his first arrival in 1929, he has sold more then half a million comics in more then fifty languages. It seems improbable that most of Tintins travels were conceived by an armchair traveller in the early 1900's when media was so restricted. It wasn't before the "Tintin and the Picaros" (1976) that Herge actually went to some of the places he showed us all a long time before that. The last stamp in the series of the comic cover is of the comic called "Tintin and alpha Art" - A story that herge couldn't finish before he passed away in March 1983.

Personally I haven't been able to read the first three comics as of now. Something I plan to correct very soon.

Thanks again Kalpana. :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Paquebot mail

Paquebot Letters posted in Dakar & Lome

As the last post said, I am back from the trip at sea. It was pretty eventful trip by all means and we throughly enjoyed it. But on the Postal front, it was an exciting time. I was able to visit a lot of post offices in foreign lands and posted to a lot of people from obscure spots on the globe.

One of the things I am happiest about is the use of the Paquebot mail that I tried for the first time. I had written extensively about the use of Paquebot mail before I left for the ship and let us do a slight recap of the concept before we go any further.

The ship is considered as part of the country of the place that it is registered in. So technically letter's posted on the ship are considered as posted in that particular country and hence are legally accepted as proper means of postage as long as the vessel hands them to the port post office on the first port of arrival.

The beauty of the Paquebot mail is that the cancellation of the stamps is done by the country through which the letter is posted. This would normally never happen. In the picture above you can see two of the Paquebot mails that i posted to myself. The top one is posted in Dakar (Senegal) and the bottom one was posted in Lome (Togo).

Paquebot canceled at Panama

A bit about the envelopes themselves. On the top of the envelope is the marking with the "Paquebot Mail - Posted at high seas" By all accounts I could have written this by hand as well, but this gave a better look, so dad sent it across to me on the ship.

The stamp on the left top is the stamp of the ship and this ship was the M.T Maroni, registered in the port of Willemstad in Netherland Antilles (This is why the stamps are from Netherland Antilles). The notations below the name refer to the GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage), NRT (Net Registered Tonnage), DWT (Deadweight) and the BHP (Power of the vessels Engine).

And finally the stamp on the bottom right is the stamp of the vessels captain. As per Paquebot regualtions the letter has to be signed and stamped by either the ships captain or the purser.

I did try to send these mails from pretty much every post that I went to, and surprisingly the mail reached from most of the places. The best were the African countries of Senegal and Togo, where they were decent enough to put nice cancellations and send it across. A month late, but still in one piece!Paquebot canceled in Corpus Christi, USA

Panama topped the list of countries that requires to put some money into making new postmarks. You can see why by the picture posted up there. I had heard that posting Paquebot through the US would be a pain, but surprisingly the only mail that I posted from Corpus christi, Texas did reach in good order and I was surprised to see that they even put a hand-stamped postmark and not one of their usual machine made ones.

Some of the other chaps who were nice enough to put the Paquebot on their blogs were Eric from the My Philately Blog, and again Eric from Jura. Thanks to the both of them for the nice write ups along with the pictures. George from Taiwan had also put up the pictures on his blog but I can't seem to open his page right now.

Thanks to you all!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Back Home !

Hi All.

As the title says, I am back home. The last few months were great and I did cover a huge chunk of the globe in those months. But the time was very hectic and it feels great to be back home and wind down for a while.

Firstly, it was simply amazing to come back home and see the pile of letters that you folks have been sending over to my address for the last few months. I loved all of them and thanks a ton for them. It will take me a few days to deal with them and I will be putting up a lot of them on the blog over the next few days.

Anyway, thanks again to all of you & I want to let you know that I'm open for swaps again of Indian stamps.

Cheers all!