Friday, April 2, 2010

The Romance Of A Lifetime

I love writing. Writing on paper, just about anything. When I was in junior school, I would just pick up a magazine or a book, and start copying the text on a notebook, on the pretext of improving my handwriting, but actually just enjoying writing. Just the feeling of running my writing instrument over a piece of paper, gives me a feeling of amazing calm and sometimes even an inherent feeling of happiness of some sort. I love writing, the old fashioned way.

The world today though is a world of electronic writing. Its all typed on our computers, and stored, writing on paper, is time consuming, and wastes precious resources as well, we are meant to believe. And without a doubt, the electronic media, gives us greater reach. Blogging cannot happen on paper can it? But that does not mean I don't miss having a legitimate excuse to write on paper. And the sad bit is that with the blitzkrieg of alternative forms of writing, the tools for old-fashioned writing have started to dwindle. And I miss them.

I have a big weakness for stationary, and it has taken me tremendous self control, to actually stop buying some each time, I see it. But of late, I have hardly seen anything that tempts me. I remember when I was in college, a visit to the stationary store would never be complete without atleast one pen purchase. The shopkeeper knew my room-mate and me so well within our first year, that he would always show us the new pens which had arrived, and have the test writing pad out, for us to try it, and pick a new one, or one of our regular favourites. I just loved pens, and the Mitsubishi ball point, the Reynolds Jetter and Reynolds Fine, were my regular favourites. My criteria when selecting a pen, is a fine nib. I am no fan of 'bold' writing, nor of fat, blunt nibs. I like my nibs to be fine and precise, and that was the main reason that these were my favourite pens, besides of course the fact that the price suited my pocket beautifully. The 'jetter' happened to be quite a precious possession in those days prices at Rs.18.

The images have been picked from their official website.( and

My favourite though is a classic fountain pen. I love filling ink in my pen from a bottle, and writing with it, somehow, feels very grand and classy. And I believe it is also a lot more environment friendly than using up huge amounts of plastic for the ball points and gel pens, where often there is no option to even replace the refill, and the pen simply needs to be discarded as a whole.College, required loads of writing, and high speed at that, so the ball points were favoured heavily over the fountain pens, but my love for them never really ebbed. Back in the era, when I first started writing with a pen, in school, it was compulsory to use ink-pens, and I think my fascination began right then. I remember spending hours washing my pens in warm water, cleaning them with a brush, sourcing syringes and needles to re-fill the cartridges, of the pens that could only be used with cartridges. It was something I loved doing. I even had a pen than had once belonged to my long deceased grandfather, and a Sheaffer at that. I adored that pen. But somehow its been a while now, since I have used an ink pen, and I cannot even find my favourite ball points here. So I ended up stocking on a pile of cheap thick nibbed, disposable pens, for use around the house, when I got here, but was rather unhappy about it.

So I started searching for reasonably priced fountain pens, from all my online research, the stores that seemed to be selling them, had only very high end ones, with prices in the region of $100, as a start. I was surprised, and saddened to know, that fountain pens seemed to have become a thing for connoisseurs only now. Students here, are not required to write with ink-pens when they receive their pen licence and are permitted to shift to a pen from a pencil, and that possibly is the main reason that fountain pens cannot be easily sourced around here. And I kept looking till, I found a store that sells mini-fountain pens really cheap at $1.75. Was I over joyed or what? I promptly walked up to the store and bought myself two. They did not sell the cartridges, and had only a cartridge each, in the pens, to start me off, and I was to buy the cartridges from elsewhere. And it is then that I realised that those plastic contraptions called ball-points and gel pens have so taken over the world, that it is almost impossible to find ink or cartridges. It took me a few weeks of asking around to find a store which sold them, and even with them, I had to place an order, so that they can source the thing for me. Its close to impossible to get myself a syringe and a needle here, so the cartridges cannot be recycled, and that leaves me with the option of going through the lengthy and expensive procedure of buying cartridges. But whatever it is, I am loving writing with the fountain pens, mini as they maybe.

My latest precious possessions, using them frequently maybe an expensive affair however.

I believe that fountain pens are more environment friendly, and they have a sense of romance and class about them. It would be great to encourage kids to take it up, and make them the preferred writing tools. I would hate to see them become obsolete, or antiquated technology visible only in museums.


Anonymous said...

You've made me reminisce of the times I attempted calligraphy with foutain pens.. I agree there is a certain degree of romance in writing with a fountain pen..which seems to have become a rather rare and prized writing instrument these days..

MRC said...


You'll find a kindred soul in my hubby, and his overflowing stationary drawers!

D said...

I could have written this post. I'm coveting a Mont Blanc fountain pen since forever! Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Wow ... this post took me down the memory lane! I had quite a fascination for writing too and like you I too adored ink pens and fine tipped ball points... Beautiful post and now me off to look for a book, a pen and something to copy from! ;-)

Pixie said...

Sigh... what memories you brought back! :)
Thank you!
I still have the ink pens my dad and grandad gave me when I started 7 th std! :)

oh and you have been awarded and tagged! :)

Rakesh said...

too bad, you're tellin me now... My brother works for a stationary distributor and our house is always full of the latest writing gadgets :)

Passionate Goof said...

liveonimpulse - You do calligraphy too?

MRC - Really? wow!

D - I am sure you will have it soon, birthday round the corner na!

t3 - I love love love pens and stationary.

Pixie - Wow! Lucky you, and thanks, lemme go see.

Rakesh - oh! I wish i had known when i was there!

The Restless Quill said...

GM, this a lovely post. One can never say enough on the physical art of writing. I've maintained my love for fountain pens and received a gorgeous Waterman on my 30th a few months ago. I was thrilled to bits. Writes like a dream. Keep writing!

Passionate Goof said...

Restless Quill - Wow! Lucky lucky you! Enjoy it.