Anyone who has lived long enough in Chandigarh will narrate tales of how they have been cured by Dr Sunil Soods homeopathic medicines and cheerful disposition. But not many have been treated to a peak of his other talents. His small cubicle in Sector 9 with shelves of healing concoctions share equal space,if not less,with his most prized possessions his outstanding coin and stamp collections.
My father has always been a passionate collector of Indian stamps and coins and thats how I was first initiated into the hobby. As my pocket money increased with age,I started investing more in them and soon relatives began adding to my collection too. Today,I have more than 10,000 coins and lakhs of stamps,he cheerfully states.
But he doesnt just have coins from a particular era or region. Sood is collecting the regal or yearly-minted coins from the reigns of Mughal kings including Jahangir,Aurangzeb,Muhammad Shah and Shah Aalam.
How does he figure out what the coins read? I specially learnt Urdu for the purpose. Since the script is very similar to Persian,I can understand easily what year the coin was issued.
Those who have tried collecting anything old will know how difficult it is to get hold of such rarities,he agrees and added,I frequently go to jewellery stores for such coins and am also a life-long member of the Varanasi Numismatics Group. This helps me to exchange and buy coins from co-members. Now,I mostly buy them from e-bay. In fact,thats where my credit card gets used most of the time!
As we look around,we catch sight of two shelves with blue bound books and we know weve hit the jackpot! Inside these lay stamps according to place,theme and year. These include stamps of ships,aeroplanes,animals,insects,fish,dinosaurs (they were printed only in Hungary and some in Mongolia),cars,Olympic games and trains to name a few. But this happens to be only the tip of an iceberg. Back home,he has the full stock on display. Before we leave,were reminded to ask him of his favourite collection.
For a collector,every coin is special. But my most favourite is the set of Kushan coins my uncle gifted me 15 years ago. Sood is obviously not just a doctor of the present. Hes equally so of the wonders of the past.