Today we’d like to introduce you to Missive Wings.
Hi Missive Wings, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
We were both ardent stamp collectors as kids. We’d patiently wait for the mailman in anticipation of new postage stamps, and spent many a Sunday afternoon carefully extricating these delicate stamps from envelopes, and cataloging them into albums! In 2021, one of us lost our father Prof Ashim K Chakravarty to the pandemic. As this unfortunate event prompted a trip home, we got a chance to revisit these stamp albums from our childhood. Prof. Chakravarty had inducted one of us into the hobby of philately and both of us into the craft of storytelling – many stamps on display at missivewings were part of his collection as well. As a way to commemorate him, @missivewings was started and we have continued to grow since. Over time, we’ve now added stamps from both our childhood collections and also actively sourced new ones to the missivewings repertoire. This living collection has enabled us to generate daily content at missivewings for ~6 months and led to the enrichment of online communities that live at the intersection of philately, history, & art.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
We are part of a generation that straddled the pre and post-internet eras. One challenge has been keeping stamps interesting in an age when emails and slack messages have supplanted letters. Though stamps aren’t commonly used anymore, we realized that the art of storytelling is indeed timeless! And these postage stamps which we fondly refer to as missivewings are our vehicles to bring these stories to the world. At missivewings, we have chronicled daily stories, collaborated with other creators who use other forms of media (eg. photographs and videos) and engaged with artists from across the globe. An example is our paired set of nine posts (#missivewingscollab) in collaboration with fellow nature lovers, @hiking.techies. We celebrated US National Park Week (Apr 16 – 24) globally and engaged with the audience to promote ideas of wildlife and nature conservation. Missivewings is our labor of love. Both of us work on it after our full-time day jobs which involve deploying scientific methods to tackle the scourge of cancer. At the end of some long days, it gets a bit challenging to eke out the time needed to keep nurturing it. Being a duo is massively helpful here – we keep each other honest about our overall commitment to storytelling through postage stamps.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
We’re storytellers whose primary aim is to bring our audience – narratives from different global communities that one can enjoy on their phones from any corner of the world. Through these narratives, we hope to highlight the intricacies of global cultures while also bringing about the realization that we are more similar than we sometimes care to acknowledge. In a nutshell, our goal is to celebrate humanity.
For decades, the term philately evokes an image of old, bespectacled gentlemen poring over with magnifying glasses in a room filled with the aroma of old books. We consider ourselves misfits in that room and are hoping to share our love for stamps with a diverse audience, and bring these missivewings forward as mainstream vehicles to drive conversations and collaborations.
What matters most to you?
We are passionate about traveling to distant lands, meeting people, and learning about and celebrating new cultures.
Back in the pre-internet days, when letters aka missives were a primary mode of communication, it was these tiny but powerful pieces of paper – stamps which we lovingly call missivewings that fueled connectivity. In recent times, the pandemic has increased physical distances. Sheltering at home, we were feeling a little disappointed at having to continually cancel travel for over 2 years. Thus, we turned to the internet and leveraged the Instagram platform to continue our journeys.
In these past 6 months, we have e-visited several cultures – through stamps that we’ve chosen to highlight as well as people who we’ve met through missivewings. Their stories have touched us, and in our own way, we’ve tried to get their voices heard. An example is our #missivewingsforukraine series that we ran showcasing the distinct culture of Ukraine and raising awareness on various on-the-ground programs that are helping the citizens of this war-torn land.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/missivewings/
Ushati Das Chakravarty
Anupam K Chakravarty