Aditya Bhansali is the best thing that has happened to the Indian fountain pen, ink, paper and accessories community in a really long time. And I have reasons to make the tall claim – however outrageous it may seem on the face of it. I will not mince my words – Aditya Bhansali is young, dynamic and a go-getter: one, who has, with his youthful zest and joie de verve injected the steroids in the moribund and geriatric world of fountain pens and accessories in India.
This young gentleman runs the thepenworld ecommerce site from his base in Chennai, which happens to be the go-to site for serious hobbyists, most of whom swear by the ease of transacting, the fair pricing and the prompt service that they get here. The site has a more than decent spread and one is certainly impressed by the fact that it is never static – the items on offer being constantly shuffled to ensure that the slow-moving stock is replaced to make place for more exciting offerings.
I have personally dealt with thepenworld a number of times and my customer experience has always been good. Discreet enquiries among friends in the fountainpen fraternity also bear me out, which calls for separating out for special mention, the keenness of the management to address the issues raised, with the immediacy that they deserve. To put things bluntly, in a scenario where the Indian pen sellers – both the legacy pen turners with their aversion to everything tech and the multiple-stores backed e-commerce sites – were known for their, shall we say, “sloppy” record of customer satisfaction, the highwater marks achieved by the Pen World is not only acknowledged, but also appreciated.
Says Aditya Bhansali explaining the strategy behind his success “we have on offer a fairly exhaustive range of writing instruments – perhaps offering the largest selection of India made fountain pens in one platform, our prices are also competitive. But more than anything else, we try to provide a seamlessly integrated shopping experience for our patrons, ensuring that the delivery is prompt and hassle-free, and in the extremely unlikely and rare case where they have issues that they want addressed, that such issues are dealt with immediately, strictly on a no-questions-asked basis”.
The second reason why Aditya Bhansali and the Pen World needs to be celebrated is because of the enviable success that he has achieved in helping establish the boutique ink brand Krishna to the community of fountain pen lovers. Krishna inks, as we all know is the passion fruit of Dr Sreekumar Nithu of Palakkad, Kerala. That the inks are stuff that dreams are made of is well known. What is also known is that our good doctor is also an accomplished pen turner and a Nibmeister of repute being a disciple of the great master A C Ramachandran (ACR). But what is not readily known is the fact that much of the runaway success achieved by Krishna inks is due to the extensive work done by Aditya Bhansali and his team that has not only created the narrative around the brand but has also ensured its constant oomph-factor, ultimately increasing their visibility, desirability and availability. When queried, Aditya Bhansali is characteristically modest, choosing to credit Dr Sreekumar Nithu’s brilliance for the excellent product, but I guess, the fact that the inks reach the desiring pens the way they do and in the numbers that they have chalked up, is, to a very great extent because of the quiet efficiency with which the logistics have been handled.
The third reason for which the fountain pen community has to be grateful to Aditya Bhansali and thepenworld is off course the Endless range of fountain pen friendly notebooks, a collaboration that he has unveiled on us swooning stationery lovers with a bang.
We all know how frustrating it is to write on paper that bleeds, or is rough, or is just not the right compliment for the pen and inks that we love. We also know the lengths to which we have all traversed in search of that elusive, “perfect” notebook that is capable of filling the cockles of our hearts. And I guess a big Thank You is due for the Endless range of notebooks that have been designed and created keeping in view not only the unique needs of the community but also for pricing them well within our reach, not to mention the fact that they are always up to the exacting standards that we set for our writing surfaces.
As if that was not enough, the team at Endless have come up with another heart warmer – the Endless Explorer. A handcrafted leather sleeve (nothing faux about it) that comes with a hold your breath – 68 gsm Tomoe River notebook with a dotted layout. The leather sleeve comes with extra bands that can incorporate two more notebooks giving rise to Endless (no pun intended) possibilities and a leather (as in Leather, Leather as opposed to the vegan abominations) pen loop to ensure that the day’s carry can snuggle right in! And to cap it all, the entire package comes boxed in a cardboard case for safe keeping, which too, is artfully created. As is the instruction manual that adds just that dash of understated elegance to it all. Did somebody say that the story of desire is hidden and heightened in the detailing?
“The unique caramel colour leather sleeve has been handcrafted to ensure it gathers a quick patina and evolves with every touch or in stow-away. The journal becomes exclusively yours right from the first touch” says Dheeraj Nanduri a designer and entrepreneur based out of Chennai, who is the moving spirit behind the Endless Explorer. Dheeraj Nanduri has co-founded and runs the start-up, Endless Stationery, that already sells stationery products in more than 20 countries. What differentiates his work, according to connoisseurs, “is the unique blend of business, and design”. He loves to “explore the boundaries of product design and their effects on human psychology”. Phew!
For those who are crestfallen at the news of Tomoe River going out of production, here’s something to cheer you up. Aditya Bhansali and Dheeraj Nanduri have enough stock to ensure the free flow of notebooks for at least the next six months. If I were you, stationery addict, I would, you know what!
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