Can anybody force the agency of expression on an artist? Or, can anybody try to control how an artist is supposed to think and articulate their thoughts? In the first place, this question may sound weird. But, sometime back I came across as much a weird fellow who expected me to key in all those creative and not-so-creative thoughts on the machine (PC). Somehow, the idea of writing everything down on paper felt out-of-fashion and old-school to him. I was slightly put off when he tried to convince me hard that my way of working was outdated. I heard him out patiently and continued doing the long-hand way. After all, it's the final copy that should matter and not my arrival of it, I reasoned.
I used to think there must be very few left who'd still be in love with putting the ink to the paper the magical way. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered there are at least a few thousand in the city, who are true aficionados of this great age-old practice of the human race. The event was the three-day annual 'Fountain Pen Exhibition' convened by Rajesh Pillai of Pune's First Exclusive Fountain Pen Shop. It was held at Shruti Hall near Deccan Gymkhana from 30 Sep to 2 Oct 2022. Just to prove my solidarity, I did not bother to wash off the stains on my fingers before leaving, from a fresh encounter with one from my own collection.
This quill and bot event certainly turned out to be a treat for some of the heavily loaded connoisseurs who could easily shell out for the highly regarded international brands upwards of 3000 per piece. And there were at least 63 such premium labels whose price made any studded jewelry go pale in comparison.
Now for the most interesting part of it all. The color on the floor. The ink was no longer humble. It sizzled and beckoned at you in a variety of hues. The smallest of the vials cost me ₹300 for 30 ml. The biggest one on the display cost ₹5500 for 500 ml. That reminded me of good 'ol growing up companion of my growing up times- camelink Pvt Ltd. The last I fetched a couple of weeks ago cost just ₹25 for 100 ml. Once they too had a shade of green and purple in their range of offerings. With time and more so with fingers turning towards keyboards and styluses, finding a humble fountain pen also became a tedious task.
I was fortunate to land an elegant Indian brand @LikhitPens that cost a decent 400 bucks for a chrome-coated black beauty of just the right weight. Their pen case is even more alluring. It had a small paper cut-out inside it that read 'Thanks for Choosing Us' which felt quite nostalgic. Just like one of those heavy-duty jewelry cases. Another economical Indian brand Click by @UniquePenIndustries Indore is completely into #calligraphy apparatus and had many chasing their remaining stock on display.
But the next time you wish to give a meaningful gift or spur someone to write a trailblazing account of their experiences, or simply turn your passion for the written word into an engaging tale, do induct this humble warrior into your regiment. For some enthusiasts like me, every such opportunity is purely divine. As they say, fortunate are the ones who can read and write, and the privileged are those who can interpret the texts and coin new idioms.