This chocolate did not find a sweet tooth to satisfy. Instead, its unique characteristics has kept it intact for 30 years now. How? Ask noted industrialist and 83-year-old Raj Paul Oswal, who is the proud owner of a large collection of rare stamps from across the world. Among his collection is a real chocolate stamp that he imported from Switzerland. The man has refrigerated the stamp for three decades and it is the cynosure of everyone’s eyes, from relatives and neighbours to philatelists across the state.
The Swiss are famed chocolatiers and this stamp stands testimony to their unique craft. On Monday, Oswal was at the opening of the two-day district level philately exhibition at the head post office where he showcased dozens of his other stamps. “Nothing can keep me from collecting stamps. It has kept me connected with the world,” he says.
He did not bring his rare chocolate stamp to the exhibition but has plans to do so provided the organisers make appropriate arrangements for it on the concluding day. “There was a time when electricity was a big issue but I was so concerned about it that I bought special ice boxes for it,” he adds.
He has collected stamps for over 40 years and a majority of them, he claims, to have imported from different pockets of the world. “People are ready to believe all my stories but they find the tale of the chocolate stamp hard to digest,” he says.
“The Swiss post came up with the idea and I decided to bring it home. I got to know of this interesting stamp thanks to several visits to Switzerland. Later, the story of this stamp became popular on the internet,” he adds. Oswal feels strongly about his stamps and has no plans to sell any of them, no matter what the price.
His valuable collection also includes exclusive embroidered stamps from many European and African countries and a stamp on ‘Swiss cheese’. To keep a tab on rare stamps and what other philatelists are up to, Oswal makes sure he does not miss a single philately exhibition, be it in any part of the country or world. “It’s my passion for the hobby that keeps me going. It means a lot to me because stamp collection makes you more knowledgeable about the different cultures and traditions across the world.”