Fountain Pen Groups – what ails them? What medicine do you prescribe?
The caveat up front. I am only trying to raise an issue that afflicts all of us. There is no intention of pointing fingers at any one Fountain Pen Group or person in particular, leave alone a desire to hurt. If, inadvertently I cause any hard feelings, my unqualified apologies. Hope all of you will read the piece and the ones that will follow with an open mind and the same love that you have for your collection.
I am inundated with complaints from fountain pen lovers who, seeking knowledge and fraternal bonding join Fountain Pen groups in various social media platforms, only to be waylaid – sometimes ridiculed by old hands who hunt in packs, at other times getting short-charged as the so-called experts lead them to purchase pens that are, shall we say, not exactly what they are palmed off as.
Some people have also pointed out a predictable trend – one so-called expert posts a certain picture with his / her cahoots flooding it with clapping / raging fire / beating heart emogies to build up the tempo which leads the vulnerable to walk into the well-laid “trap”. What is equally deplorable is the practice of some established pen makers / sellers, who take potential buyers off the grid and quote prices only on Whats App, which leads many to feel that not all is above board and transparent. Why pray? Why can’t we have open pricing – it is a fraternity, after all?
The questions that were set before the stalwarts are simple:
- Fountain pen groups – have they lost their purpose of bringing FP lovers together?
- Are Fountain Pen Groups mere platforms where sellers donning the garb of lovers of FP lurk to pull fast ones on unsuspecting new-comers – hunting in packs?
- Are we not forcing the real FP lovers to quit in disgust?
- We have nothing against people selling pens – but sellers calling themselves pen lovers with ulterior motives and hidden agendas is deplorable – do you agree?
Here is what Prof K C Janardhan – the Maestro, Teacher, Curator of the only one of its kind museum in the world dedicated to all matters writing, writing instruments and Calligraphy has to say on the matter:
I totally agree with you.
My answer is with a holistic view of Handwriting Lettering Calligraphy and Fountain Pens because they are like hand and glove and cannot prosper without each other!
Today we are witnessing a positive wave to revive Handwriting, Calligraphy and Fountain Pens across the globe. I have come across many social media groups on various platforms which are discussing related matters. This is a very good thing, but ironically the purpose of starting these groups has been long lost due to some personalities who have revealed their true colours of a megalomaniac.
It is disgusting to see the infighting between them, with the smaller fragments forcing many members to leave the group or start another group. It is unfortunate that it is happening mostly in India. I have personally visited many Handwriting, Lettering, Calligraphy and Pen Lovers groups in UK and the US from 1997 before the www era and have also observed many groups on the net and WhatsApp in the www era.
First my observations are that in handwriting and calligraphy groups there are umpteen number of them who are not even aware that they don’t know the basics of the subject. They cannot distinguish between Handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy and less said the better about the confusions in Graphology, Graphonomy, Grapho-therapy and Questioned Document Examination.
It is a sad fact that they are not even aware that they are chasing delusions of grandeur, living in a fool’s paradise. Possessing derelict knowledge of these subjects lead by impaired reasoning, they have spread them like contagious infections with a delirious height of madness. It is painful to see the art of calligraphy being desecrated by five or more blind men of Hindustan defining an elephant. These groups must come out of their delusions and seek clarity to do justice to these art forms.
A fountain pen is the best and the finest writing instrument ever to be invented and produced in the history of mankind to enjoy the buttery feel when you write down your thoughts and emotions. So, the true practitioners of good handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy are the demonstrators of how to effectively put them to use. Therefore, a true expert in these art forms are needed by the fountain pen industry to further the cause of enjoying ones handwriting. Unfortunately, majority of these artists come across as demonstrators, weak in English communication, history and other nuances of the subject, which limits their articulation and their stature. I feel very sorry the way they are treated by the agencies, corporates, pen manufacturers with a tone of Condescendence! This has led to their fractured acceptance among the Fountain Pen fraternity. Hence, they are unable to create an impression or impact on the fountain pen manufacturers or the groups and unable to drive the synergy to further a common cause. This divide is like a Grand Canyon. We need to bridge the gap!
I hope people understand that without good demonstrators of how to use the fountain pen properly, that too when we are in the midst of digital Tsunamis,Tornados and Twisters almost trying blow out the habit of handwriting. More than half the battle has been lost by most of the Indian old time manufacturers and so called lovers and collectors. Only a minuscule part of the lovers and collectors possess a readable or legible or a good handwriting to make the fountain pen proud.
From my experience I have come across Fountain Pen Collectors in the following categories:
1) Collectors with true love for Fountain Pens who do not sell them, they nurture them with all the love and care. They will bequeath it to someone they love or someone the collector feels worthy to possess them, at the end of their lives.
2) Fountain Pen Lovers who would genuinely like to exchange pens when they have more than one piece of the same model and colour with no monetary consideration.
3) When such a genuine Fountain Pen Lover cannot find an heir to their collections, that’s when they are forced to sell their collections at the evening of their lives and few steps away from their grave!
The first three are the genuine ones and harmless.
4) Fountain Pen stealth buyers and sellers are camouflaged as:
4a) who by the way are LOVERS of Fountain Pens for the monitory returns. (dangerous category)
4b) who are promiscuous debauchers posing as LOVERS, palming off their fountain pens after gratification, to a gullible buyer in the Fountain Pen Groups (the most dangerous category).
5) Fountain Pen Lovers who are in it to satisfy some kind of an insecurity, who come across as opulent fountain pen collectors. They are like Harem Owners possessing the most beautiful, enviable and voluptuous collection of Fountain Pens, but unfortunately they are impotent! What an Irony!
In whichever category one belongs it is their own personal choice and have the freedom to be in that space. I hope you will not mistake me for presenting the naked truth from my experience and understand with right perception and empathy.
The third and fourth category are stealthily dangerous to the Fountain Pen Groups who are becoming the terminators of the first three categories. The current Scenario is very disturbing and self-defeating to the purpose. These so-called lovers of Fountain Pens on these Fountain Pen Groups, existing as camouflaged businessmen whose hidden agenda is only buying and selling have been exposed, forcing many genuine members to leave the group in disgust. Why don’t they clearly state that they are in it for business and by the way they also love fountain pens!
Some of them palm off their so-called collections (hoarders in reality) with their enticing sweet talk which is nothing short of misleading advertising. When details are asked, they would say PM (personal message). Some seduced victims have reported about being taken for a ride and short changed and have vented their feelings as nothing short of rape! When the sweet talkers are challenged, they reveal their real nature and rattle the newcomers. When the truth is exposed, the warring factions jump on each other as hunting pack of wolves, they corner a member in the open platform humiliating them and silence them by using strong language and even threaten to throw them out of the group in a barbaric manner.
Why don’t these pack of wolves use PM to resolve issues, rather than fill up public space with uncouth exchange of words on a social platform, when the purpose is to promote the habit of writing so that more and more people fall in love with writing and in turn fall in love with fountain pens. It is a well-known fact that the sales of fountain pens had gone down until the recent past and it is sad to find many Indian Pen manufactures have either closed down or they are in doldrums or staring at doomsday! Even some of the leading International brands have diversified their business of Fountain Pens, to survive.
In such a scenario where some ray of hope is appearing with a silver lining amidst the dark clouds, with a resurgence and renewed interest in the general public for handwriting, calligraphy and fountain pens, these groups should become mature to understand that infighting because of lack of knowledge, lack of understanding and reasoning, bloated egos, one-upmanship, insecurities and jealousies have led to indifferences, which in turn are effectively stifling and killing the very “PURPOSE”. “Purpose before Personality” should be the only mantra and guiding force and it should become the dictum.
Finally, I am sick of the strong undercurrents of North South divide, the indifferences of the East, West and Central, flowing on these platforms in this great country. It is a shame that even after 70 plus years of Independence and freedom unity in diversity still remains on paper and evaporative speeches, elusive as ever. I hope that we will get out of the self-defeating traitors mindset as we continue to portray ignominy in the 21st century, that too on such platforms. What a shame!
I am prompted to quote a wise man who said:
“India is a great nation, we Indians are small and have made this country smaller by being: regularly irregular, punctually unpunctual, we make promises to break, when we come together, to fall apart, we always agree to disagree and have reduced this country from a great nation to a disillusioned population”.
Wake up my dear fellow members and friends in these fraternities and realise the truth and follow the path of ethics upholding dignity and decorum!
My sincere appeal to all these Fountain Pen Group members and administrators on various social platforms…”Please grow up with maturity and stop bullying each other, stop putting your foot in your mouth and the others stop shooting yourselves in your feet, stop being snobs flaunting your possessions with a condescending attitude and start working towards the unity of Handwriting, Lettering, Calligraphy practitioners, Fountain Pen Manufacturers, Users and Collectors, with true friendship and fellowship by creating a non-threatening environment for handwriting, calligraphy and the fountain pen Industry to flourish in the interest of the larger public.
For More information about the Maestro Prof K C Janardhan please visit: http://jsquill.com