Gama Ivory with a 1 mm broad nib with a saree to match!
We have a new system in place to maintain family peace – every time I get another Fountain Pen, I have to gift my wife a saree, preferably from the same region the pen originates in. As a matter of fact, she is so happy with the new arrangement that she has also very kindly given consent to my proposal that I photograph the new pens with the matching saree as the background! The result is quite heady as the accompanying snaps will prove.
Now the problem arises when friends from the fountain pen fraternity gifts you a pen, pens even. The wife insists on looking a gift horse in the mouth and solemnly pronounces the judgement – that it is actually no gift and accuses one of misstating facts to duck the levy of applicable duties. The last case was when fellow fountain pen aficionado, Shreyas Yedla sent yet another of his stunners – the Gama Ivory.
There is nothing new to write about Gama, as it is a name that dates back to the dawn of organised fountain pen craftsmanship in India and has been revered for not only their built quality, but also for the sheer aesthetics. Thanks again to Shreyas Yedla, I have quite a few of them in my collection and needless to say, each one of them is a champion writer.
The Gama Ivory that Shreyas Yedla has so kindly gifted me is in fact a highly desirable one. While Gama specialises in making ebonite pens, it has on offer only two models that are all white – both acrylic, which makes them the rarity that they are. Eye-dropper fillers, these pens are similar to ocean liners, if one were to consider their ink carrying capacities. The point to be appreciated being that despite them being clearly taller and fatter than standard sized pens (read the Click Aristocrat to cite an example), even when they are fully inked, they are not a strain on the writing hand. As a matter of fact, many fountain pen users, me included, tend to prefer their weight as they balance perfectly on the fingers making the very act of writing, the pleasure that it ought to be.
But it is the nib that does the magic. Shreyas Yedla has somehow managed to get the pen he has sent to me fitted with a 1 mm (broad nib) as opposed to the stock No 6 nibs. The nib, and I am not exaggerating, transports one immediately to a tropical paradise with its warm, wet disposition. Me being a regular user of Fine nibs, the lines drawn by the Gama Ivory to me, look naturally a bit on the broader side, but what the heck? The pleasure of seeing the wet ink meander, like a river in the plains as it approaches the sea, is a pleasure whose serenity just cannot be matched by my fine nibs which are more like gushing mountain springs, that too in full spate. There is something about the tip of the nib – and Shreyas Yedla refuses to identify the maker – the tipping material is so good in an understated manner, that it seems that it was made by the ancient aliens!
I had once asked Shreyas Yedla to explain the reasons behind his continuing fascination (read obsession) with Gama pens and he had said that he loves them because of three reasons – they are sturdy, the quality of their craftsmanship is beyond par and because they offer real value for money. Well, all I can say is that he cannot be more right.
There is a certain section in the fountain pen lover’s community that cribs constantly about the lack of exposure Gama has, considering its legacy status and obviously superior features, in the net. Even without taking sides in the argument, I can safely say that considering the obvious logistical problems faced by fountain pen turners of yester years, Gama included, it is a good decision not to spread the resources thin by focussing on the digital medium. Me thinks they are doing the right thing in concentrating on what they do best, make pens that is, and letting associates do the marketing. My first Gama pen was acquired from ASA and I still think that, God willing, Subramaniam Anna is perfectly suited to ensure that the Gama brand get the kind of exposure it deserves in the sun. As a matter of fact, if the market grapevine is to be believed, the Pandemic induced lockdown has come as a blessing in disguise to Gama and their sales have really picked up in the last couple of months.
Now for the saree. It is from the Ilkal town of Karnataka. And while Shreyas Yedla won’t tell me the price of the Gama Ivory, if my prior experience is anything to go by about saree prices, I have no complaints for I am always willing to pay more than what Gama pens normally come for.