Plasma – the fourth state of matter, now in a fountain pen!
I am a lover of fountain pens. I also collect them, gloat over my hoard, fill my hours sinking in as much trivia about them as I can access, write with and about them – to put a long story short, eat, breathe and dream about pens of the fountain kind. If you ask me – or anyone from the tribe (and there are many of us) what is our biggest regret and we will almost unanimously rue the fact that we Indians are yet to make a pen that is capable of holding on its own among the coveted; attract the attention of the global connoisseurs and win the admiration of the discerning fountain pen lovers of the world.
No, I understand that we don’t make the nibs or the filling systems. The material and the jewellery may be imported too. All we want is a pen that is turned in India, by Indian hands, with a soul that can proudly claim “unity in diversity”, and still be acknowledged as a fine piece of craftsmanship that will easily find home in any collector’s heart. Is it too much to ask? Is it a chimera? A contradiction of terms?
Not really, for some passionate Indians, fountain pen obsessed men (and women) have taken up the onerous task of putting us on the global map of contemporary penmanship. (Contemporary is the key word as this discussion is not about the Indian Ebonite beauties that are still reigning their roost).
Ladies and gentlemen let me proudly present to you the Constellations88 creation Plasma.
One look and you are guaranteed to fall in love with the pen. Mine is a fluid purple – with magenta and maroon swirls, just enough to invoke images of the miasma – wisps of smoke drifting up, that suggest smouldering embers that are hidden from the eye, perhaps even ready to erupt. Just a hint, an understatement. A canvas, where the story of life is about to be painted.
The construction is robust. The bold lines just curvy enough to accentuate the feeling of the drifting smoke. The material – of the barrel, cap and the section – precious resin. One must take the pen in hand and caress it with the affection only we, fountain pen lovers can muster, to know just why resin, which is natural, is the “chosen one”, while the petroleum bye-products languish in the side-lines. If looks alone could kill, this pen would be a mass murderer; while the feel – the balance, the way it fills the palm, the weight that is just right, the sophisticated poise; and the ease with which it glides on paper – would seal and deliver the judgement. That the pen doesn’t post is of no consequence to me, I don’t post my pens in any case. What makes the heart skip a beat, however, is the polish – polish that points at the obvious mastery of the hands that have crafted this masterpiece. It must be seen to be believed, for, who has even thought of, leave alone applied polish on the fourth state of matter?
The design coup de grâce, off course is the Constellations88 silver coin that crowns the filial adding just that hint of sterling to the aesthetics. The chrome plated brass accessories only complement what is obviously a joy to be-hold.
The nib is Bock and like they say, the name is enough. The pen takes both cartridges and a converter, which too needs no elaboration. And to add further value, the Plasma can also be used as an eyedropper by those who prefer their pens to have a larger ink carrying capacity (just make sure that you apply silicone grease before such use). As usual I will not burden the readers with samples of stolen quotes or my scribbles either, leaving it on to them to test the pen themselves. Trust me, it will be the treat that you expect it to be.
Partially transparent fountain pens are a rage these days, especially with the young converts. The Plasma with its offerings at various colour points – brown, blue, purple, white and grey – is an obvious hit as it towers head and shoulders above the so-called “flavours of the day” in this segment. While the price is steep by Indian standards, it is in no way prohibitively high and I am sure that for genuine lovers of quality pens, it will not be a restricting factor. It did not restrict me, did it?
Whether all this is worth it? Every ounce of our patriotism. The Plasma is a conversation piece and is bound to have tongues wagging the moment you take it out from your pocket. Now imagine you are in a foreign land and imagine saying nonchalantly to the foreigners, “it is Made in India, you know”. Wont that, alone, make its weight worth in gold?
Barrel, Cap and Section: Precious resin (Edelharz)
Clip, Ring, Trims: Chrome plated Brass accessories
Nib: Polished Steel Bock #6 nib (fine and medium point)
Ink Filling: Cartridge/Converter
Length: 5inches (approx 13cm)
Price: USD 140.00
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photographs: Shoibayon Ganguly