Dr Sreekumar creations – the story of fountain pen evolution reaching its apogee.
For all those who claim that the Fountain pen is dead and buried, here is a small piece of news: there is a queue for them outside the gate of a man who is not a professional pen turner, but a doctor by profession. What is more, such is the clamour from buyers for a fountain pens made by this Indian doctor, that he had to stop experimenting and devote all his spare time to create only a few models to address the raging demand. Yes, we are talking about Dr Sreekumar of Krishna Pens who hails from Palakkad in Kerala, India.
And there are reasons for the queue. Dr Sreekumar is one of the few exponents of the art of pen-turning in India who crafts his pans – from scratch – with his bare hands. He is also one of the finest (the only one I personally know) who forges his own nibs. He also makes the inks, highly acclaimed ones at that, but that is another story.
Naturally, nibs that have been blessed with his divine touch are from an orbit that is way beyond the reach of the ones that are imported in bulk and bundled (with imported converters) into barrels that are machined in lots to fit into caps that too are ubiquitous in their proclivity. Connoisseurs from around the world who wait inordinately long periods to acquire Dr Sreekumar’s creations will vouch that the wait is well worth it.
How does it feel write with one? Well, it is like the pen conducting the nib, the paper and the ink to play out the Symphony in C Minor. It’s a pleasure that is, in one word, heavenly. And this, for a standard nib – Dr Sreekumar is also known to tune nibs to suit individual gaits. God, that must be some higher heaven that is even beyond my comprehension!
When I had first written to him expressing my desire to join the ranks of the proud owners of his creations, he had pointed at the waiting list, politely asking me to bide for my turn. I did. And then one fine morning I got a mail from him informing me that he has crafted two pens for me. That I was ecstatic would be to put things mildly.
The pens are examples of the highest form of creativity – even after factoring in the fact that coming from a doctor, they would be technically of a very high order. Consider some of the key points:
Both the pens have multi-start threads for caps – 36 per inch triple lead. Which effectively means that with less than 2 turns one can open the pens which are then ready to go.
Both have built in inner caps to prevent drying out issues. Caps that are omniscient in their performance but like the all-pervading, chooses to stay out of the view.
While closing the pens, the stop is by the section wall approximating the inner cap and not by the ending of threads. This ensures that no pressure is exerted on the cap wall even when the caps are closed too tightly. The result being that the cap walls are virtually unbreakable and are meant to last forever.
Both nibs are grounded to a Super Smooth fine nib status. This is Dr Sreekumar’s customary nib for general use – multi tasking warhorses that excel at everything, from note taking to sketching. The nibs are Ideal for students and owe their origin to a time when the “Pen Doctor” was a student himself. On smoothness level they are a shade lesser than the highly acclaimed RCMB fine but are still totally devoid of any scratchiness and offer an easy and friction less movement across the paper. If the term “sheer delight” needs an example to be explained, then, these nibs are surely the ones to look for!
The extremely finicky and fastidious creator that Dr Sreekumar is, he insists that “the nibs may not be removed for washing. You can put the whole section under water. For ED pens, settings of nibs are important for good quality writing. Pens are not to be immersed in water for more than 8 to 12 hours. Also make sure that water is fully dry when you keep pens for storage”.
One can well appreciate the obsession with which the pens have been crafted – not merely by the way the write, but also by their looks, their feel, their balance, their poise, their weight, their sturdy demeanour, their sensuous presence … the very essence of their being.
These pens may be used by mere mortals like me, but they were certainly created by a devotee and are fit to be meant for the Gods. Writing with one is nothing less than a blessing. A blessing that makes one wonder in amazement at the benevolence of those who have showered the ability to replicate excellence that can be carried in the pocket!
Thank you Dr Sreekumar.
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