Heavy vs Light pens, what’s your poison?

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Heavy is not necessarily unwieldy, especially as a fountain pen!

A fistful of Dollars. That is the first thing that had crossed my mind when I first saw this pen. For, at first sight it looks alike one that is fit to adorn the fist that is big and bulky and beefy, calloused even. The kind of fist that is clenched and raised in protest, fists that adorn the Red flags. The kind of fist that the Terminator would have been proud of. The kind of wrist that a worker, a soldier, or a farm hand would naturally be associated with. As opposed to the kind of wrist that one would relate to a writer, leave alone a poet, or even a wordsmith – someone who writes for a living.

Heavy vs Light pens,

There is something terribly bigoted about the flow of thought with deep undercurrents of prejudice of the wrong kind. And I was immediately ashamed, the moment I realised the full purport of my thoughts. That said, I wondered why? I mean, why is it that we have been so attuned to think that poets and writers, even artists, should be of the weaker kind physically, bordering on being effeminate? Weak enough for us to imagine only the medium and the small (no I refuse call them the Lady’s pens) in their hands?

Why does this pen, despite its hooded nib, look so intimidating at first glance? Its not that I have not used the Jimbo from Guider in the past, I have (LINK). In fact, with apologies to the purists, this is my third Jimbo (the first a light green and the second one a chrome yellow). The apology is called for, as this is not strictly a Jimbo and sports a hooded nib (Kanwrite) though the other features are the same. This pen has been specifically made by the turners at Guider, a bespoke creation for the connoisseur, my friend Shreyas Yadla, who has been kind enough get one made for yours truly.

Heavy vs Light pens,

Perhaps it is the colour of the ebonite that is so foreboding. Perhaps the golden clip adds just that dash of sinister, street-rap air! For, the pen is not huge – it is just a shade taller than the Click Falcon, though it is way too heavier in girth!

And it is heavy. In the hand, un-posted, it feels like Thor’s hammer, especially to one who is used to going to war with pens of “normal” weight, which feel like featherweights by comparison. I invoked the comparison with the Mjölnir (yes, that is the fancy name of Thor’s Hammer in Norse mythology) for another reason – like the Mjölnir this pen packs a mighty punch (read near invincible) when it is wielded.

Being an eye dropper filler of yore, the pen takes some time for the ink to whet the appetite of the nib and get to wet the feed (golden-age ebonite) resulting in initial skips. But once the milk of kindness starts flowing, there is no stopping and the lines are smooth, bold and consistent. If Sachin Tendulkar is the Kanwrite nib, then certainly Sunil Gavaskar is the feed. Hope the names are enough to explain just how smooth the pen writes, or better still, how easily the runs flow. And the pleasure of watching the ink flow on the paper as the words form, is just as divine. Taking the Tendulkar-Gavaskar analogy further, the ink on paper is just right – neither dry enough to be irritably scratchy, nor wet enough to instil the fear of smudging.

As I was saying, the pen is heavy. Now there is a thing about heavy pens and most fountain pen lovers have a kind of a mental block against them. But for us who are heavy writers, they are a real manna from the heaven as these pens, mostly, tend to transfer their weights as they write, making the very act of writing miles, a real pleasure to behold. As a matter of fact, if one gets used to writing with a heavy pen, it will be a real torture to shift to a lighter one, and most heavy writers I have talked to, tend to agree on this one. “It is like using a heavy bat in cricket” as my friend, ex cricketer, Prof K C Janardhan, the Maestro is wont to say, “it may feel like a load to unaccustomed hands, but once it smacks the leather (middles it / finds the sweet spot), it is sheer ecstasy. The word forms as effortlessly and just as fast as the ball unsettles the chalk on the boundary”.

Heavy vs Light pens,

There is a point there. I wrote more than ten pages the other day at a stretch and the words were literally flowing at the speed of thought. And when I finished? No, finger fatigue was not the reason. Neither was drying up of ink, for the pen carries in its womb a supply that is enough to carry one through a war.

That brings us back to where we started. As a professional writer, what do I prefer? A thin, light pen that that glides through the air, or a mammoth sized Jumbo jet that defies gravity? As an avowed lover of fountain pens, my answer is: both. Both, take you to the destination. As a matter of fact, the glider has some distinct advantages over the behemoth. But when one has to fly long haul, or take a red-eye flight, or go to war with equipment and all, the choice is Jimbo clear!

Heavy vs Light pens,





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