Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.
Monday, June 11, 2007
My Favourite Fountain Pen
From time I can remember, I have always fancied stationery items and pens top the list! Even today, more than the trendy ball point pen, I adore the ever elegant fountain pen - more commonly called 'ink pen' during school days.
The first time we ever had to write using pens in school was in the fourth standard and we were strictly forbidden to use ball point or micro tip pens. I think Pilot was the only or rather the most famous micro tip pen then.
And being the first exposure to ink and ink pens, there was always the usual "supplements" attached - staining a white shirt, ink on white walls, ink on the floor, ink on desks and leaking pens blotting the school bags, notebooks, pencilboxes. Almost every pencil box had a chalk piece or a blotting paper or a peice of cloth to counter a leaky pen. Ofcourse many relied on their hair too - which I totally despised. Most pens would have teeth marks around the nib area. A few extreme cases had even a bit of blue stain on their teeth.
The classy Hero pen was ever a luxury. I remember the few different models - one with round smooth ends, the other with a metal ring and the other just plain flat ends. There were just three distinct colours - black, green and maroon. Buying a Hero pen would cost a fortune. My first Hero pen was priced at Rs.25! Though I loved the Hero pen, my only fear was going dry on ink during exams. I always felt the inner rubber sac in the Hero pen could not hold enough ink for an exam though time and again I was proved wrong. No matter how much ever I was convinced by my friends and parents, I would never take a Hero pen to an exam. But the best feature of Hero pen - apart from its elegance and flawless nib - is the ease of refilling and the no-mess mechanism. Besides, it was a matter of pride to have a Hero pen showcased in the pencilbox.
My long time patronage was for Camlin. I liked the model which had a little transparent space in the body to see how much ink was left out. And they were not that leaky as well. And I always knew they could literally fill a truck load of ink! Later, during my 10th, I liked this special suction model of Camlin where the tail end of the pen had to be unscrewed to release the ink and screwed again - with the nib dipped in ink - to refill.
There were hundred other local brands - very fancy and cheap but the biggest risk of buying them was the leaking factor. So I always relied on Camlin or Hero.
And when it came to feeding the pen - my choice was obviously Bril ink. There was another brand in use called Chelpark, a bit expensive than Bril; but I always felt Chelpark never had the right viscosity as Bril. Chelpark ink was generally too watery and too light. There was also the Camlin brand ink but still Bril stood a class apart or atleast I felt so! But one advantage of the Camil ink bottles was that they came in plastic containers with a squeeze cap. So it was rather easy filling a non-suction pen. But we had ink fillers and re-used syringes which came in handy for the Brill-like open bottles. And almost each household had this one big bottle of ink to refill the small bottle from time to time.
I don't know why but more than the colours which I was supposed to use, which were blue and black, I've always had a liking for the other exotic colours - red, pink, green and later turquoise blue! I would get them - nevertheless - just out of interest and have separate fountain pens filled with red, pink or green ink and use them for 'other' purposes like scribbling, writing letters or signing greeting cards and ofcourse putting tick marks on old notebooks (as mentioned in this post);-)
I still relish the habit of writing with an ink pen and I still do buy ink pens. I know fountain pens are hardly in use these days other than in schools. But even there, the students prefer other pens while writing board exams. But as the tradition goes - its good to start with an ink pen, which definitely gives a better handwriting than the ball point pen. Long Live the fountain pen!