Fountain pens – why you should carry one too?
My fountain pens are conversation starters. I have never drawn out one from my pocket without having people look at it furtively, or even raising their eyebrows in wonder, or for that matter, nodding their heads in appreciation. Why, some even ask the painfully obvious “is that a fountain pen you are writing with”? In any group, there is often one whose interest is more than the cursory and chances are, that the person will begin the chat, often leading to lasting friendships. Oh yes, some will definitely look at the fountain pen and consider you an anachronism, a Rip Van Winkle who has just woken up, but then again, it takes all kinds to make the world, doesn’t it?
Then, when you start writing, beautifully wet lines on paper, obviously enjoying the act, especially while the others scribble their scrawls with ball point pens, more questions are often raised. Even if they are not, I am sure, you look around at their scrawls and reward yourself with that smile – one that you reserve for only such special occasions. Okay, its more a smirk than a smile, still.
And then, there are the inks. Scarlett and Emerald and Midnight Blue and Bomber Brown. Okay, they are not as exotic as some of the names that lipsticks come in, but believe me, as attention grabbers, they are no less potent! I must admit, I am a tad bit conservative in approach – I don’t use the simmering or the bi-colour inks often, leaving them for the more robust at heart – still. Somehow, nothing else, I mean no other writing instrument, really matches up.
From the point of view of costs alone, fountain pen inks are a steal, as except for some designer types, they are mostly pretty pink in affordability. Besides, even for regular (read heavy) writer, a bottle of ink (kink for some like us) kind of lasts for aeons.
Now that we are talking colours, I might as well add, just how “green” are my fountain pens. As opposed to the ball point ones that one uses, and throws away, any decent fountain pen is enough to last one a lifetime – a lot more actually, I still use some of the fountain pens that were my father’s. Overwhelmingly plastic, the ball pens ultimately end up either in landfills or in the ocean floor, and stubbornly refuse to be bio-degradable. My fountain pens on the other hand, ink and all, are my sustainability thoughts, in action. My way of standing up (or is it writing down) to be counted.
Yes, they cost a pretty packet. But if one were to factor in their average life cycles and the amount they help save by making the single-use apparitions stop harming the fragile ecological balance, the fountain pens have been seen to recoup their initial costs many times over. Solid, value for money, fuelled by inks that come in glass bottles. Now, if that ain’t a win-win situation, what is?
On a very physical level, it is a pleasure writing with a fountain pen that just can’t be matched by either banging on the keyboard, or by pressurising the jotters. Admit it, they are less of a strain on the fingers and have this ability to make one fall in love with his (or her) handwriting the way no ball point pen ever has. Seeing the words form on the surface of the paper, even as the ink dries is sheer ecstasy and let me leave it at that.
“A fountain pen slows you down” yells the philistine and I pull out my dumbest face to retort “So”? In a world that is running berserk – all signposts and no destination, how I love the leisurely pace that my fountain pen restricts me to. Besides, as scientists have now established, writing with a fountain pen is not only cathartic, but also leads to the secretion of a number of happy hormones. Well, I am happy enough with that and would rather not venture into the dark recesses of my ignorance beyond this point.
Now a little confession – the fountain pen has been the biggest aid to the narcissist in me. Customised, in colours matching my outfit, in shapes reflecting my mood, sporting inks that reflect my disposition, with nibs that match my need for being extra bold or for cutting a thin line, they have been and continue to, be my way of assuaging myself. Mind you, I don’t always do it to attract the attention of others, I guess they are kind of, my red sports car and trophy wife rolled into one.
Some say, they kind of earn me respect, setting me free from the pack – wolves, sheep, whatever. Really don’t know about that, but I know for sure just how exciting it is to collect fountain pens as a hobby – they sure help me connect with the child in me like nothing else can. Besides, there is a vibrant community of fountain pen lovers out there and being a collector, opens the gates to this super exciting fraternity, to friendships that defies all constraints.
By the time I reach this stage in the argument, I am almost accosted by an unctuous apologist who yells “they leak”. Well, when they did, many decades ago, the ink strains were a badge of honour. I used to proudly sport them in the shirt pockets of my school uniform and on my fingers. Alas, they don’t leak any more, not even in the flights.
Well, I guess, you can’t have it and eat it too. Come to think of it, ink-stained fingers were mighty cute! Nerdy, even.
By the way, did you notice that I have actually given more than ten arguments in favour of the fountain pen, when, according to the headline, I could have easily stopped at ten?
Point is, as always, I wrote this piece using my fountain pen and just couldn’t stop myself when conventional logic dictated that I let go. Do I have to tell you that love begins where logic stops? Or that I am in love with my pens? Fountain pens? Love them enough to keep writing even when the excuses run out? Well, isn’t that reason enough to pick up one and put it on paper?