Greetings from Rhode Island. Some philatelists may say that I am living "The Dream Life" these days, having left, in 2006, the cutting edge fashion business I was so involved in for 20 years to spend most of my time on philately; I guess I am.
I have been a collector since I was seven years old, thanks to my father who passed the philatelic gene on to me. Like most collectors I moved from one area of collecting to the next until June of 1985 when I met an amazing philatelist in San Francisco, during Westpex, named Liz Blake. I was "kiddo" to her and I can't remember if she ever called me by my name. Liz and I spent just about every Sunday at her house where she shared her amazing collection of Indian Feudatory States with me. You see, up to this point I had collected GB, KGVI Commonwealth and Malayan States - all printed by high end printers such as De La Rue; Indian States, on the other hand, were just the opposite - crude and primitive. I was completely mesmerized by her collection and it was during one of those Sunday visits that I realized "I want to collect Indian States".
Liz called me up one day and asked me if I would like to buy her Indian States collection. Being a starving student and working three jobs, just so that I could afford my college tuition, nothing seemed farther from reach than this incredible collection. And then, a magical force made it all happen; my uncle, realizing my great desire to own this collection, wrote a check to Liz Blake. The week before Christmas 1985 is when I acquired Liz Blake's 30 volume Indian Feudatory States collection - the best Christmas present ever !!! I realized that Liz really wanted me to have her collection; cause she could have easily sold the collection for several times the price she charged me.
I am most thankful to the late Dr. Frits Staal who spent hundreds of hours teaching me the ABC's of Indian States philately during his days at Berkley, California. He singlehandedly demystified Jammu & Kashmir for me; perhaps the most challenging area of Indian States philately.
Besides Frits, there are many who have helped shape me into the philatelist I am today. My father is at the top of the list followed by mentors and friends in Dan & Pat Walker. Pat taught me pretty much everything about exhibiting including how to use Publisher to design exhibit pages. A huge thanks to Steve Zwillinger for being the consummate professor on exhibiting - I understand that the 2nd edition of his book "The Path To Gold" with over 200 proven Stamp Exhibiting tips, a must for anyone that wants to improve their exhibiting skills, will be released soon.
During Pacific '97 International Exhibition held in San Francisco, I had invited an Indian stamp dealer, who had brought with him a huge stock of Indian States, to my house. I showed him my entire collection of Indian States Postal Stationery contained in two albums which he somehow managed to steal from my house the very next day, in my absence, when he stopped by my house under a false pretext. After that monumental loss I gave up collecting postal stationery.
Fast forward to 2002 when I met Wayne Menuz, the greatest collector of Worldwide Postal Stationery today. He invited me to his house where I spent several hours looking thru his collection of India & Indian States postal stationery. Alas, the love of postal stationery was rekindled that very day. Today, I blame Wanye for my obsession with postal stationery. He has been a great friend and mentor, always there to help and guide me.
I must acknowledge the help, guidance and mentoring by none other than my postal stationery Guru, Mr. Ajeet Singhee, who always makes himself available to help & guide me. Every postal stationery collector's dream, myself included, is to someday achieve what Mr. Singhee already has - A Grand-Prix with his postal stationery exhibit !!!
A special thanks to my friend, Markand Dave, for having introduced me to Pratisad Neurgaonkar, author of "Postal Stationery of British India 1856 - 1947" in 2006. Praisad is my closest Postal Stationery buddy. His catalog is the bible when it comes to collecting British India Postal Stationery.
I would also like to acknowledge, in no particular order, several friends including Madhukar Jhingan, Virendra Sharma, Gordon Brooks, Soli Contractor, Ajay Mittal, Gary DuBro and off course John Warren.
None of this would be possible without the love and support of the most understanding philatelist's wife on this planet - Lori Jaiswal - who allows and encourages me to pursue my passion for India & Indian States philately.
Member of the following global philatelic organizations
American Philatelic Society - APS
Philatelic Traders Society - PTS
American Stamp Dealers Association - ASDA
India Study Circle - ISC
Philatelic Congress of India - PCI
Royal Philatelic Society – Canada -RPSC
Royal Philatelic Society – London - RPSL
Collectors Club of San Francisco - CCSF
Collectors Club of New York - CCNY
Collectors Club of Chicago – CCC
Philatelic Group of Boston – PGB
Rhode Island Philatelic Society – RIPS
American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors – AAPE
United Postal Stationery Society – UPSS
The Postal Stationery Society – PSS