Inked Happiness turning three is a matter of great happiness, but don’t digress.
I learn that your blog, Inked Happiness will be celebrating the second completed year of its being shortly. Congratulations!
I will not belittle your passion for the fountain pen with the customary platitudes that letters like this are expected to convey. I will not put on record my wonder and appreciation for your collection, which I gather, has been built painstakingly over many years. I will also not dwell upon your fathomless knowledge about fountain pens, their history and related things.
But I will be failing in my duties as a fountain pen lover myself, if I do not state, unequivocally at that, my gratitude for what you have done for the community over the last two years with the Inked Happiness. You have changed the way people write about fountain pens, opening up the fascinating world of the fountain pens to many new readers, especially the young.
I shudder to think of the time, before Inked Happiness took us all by surprise, when things were restricted to pen reviews – photographs of the lines the pens drew and a whole lot of drab technical details that neither told the history of the pen, nor approached it as an almost human being with an unique story to tell. The stories that you have recounted, the yarns that you have spun, were therefore a breath of pure fresh air. Thank you. You have indeed mixed your love for the fountain pen with your training as a journalist well and we are all so much richer for that!
Yes, I know that your language is difficult. Yes, I know that you have this obsession for using “difficult” words that are often outside the vocabulary of the ordinary. And I also know that it is perhaps the biggest complaint against you. I am also sure that you must be tempted to dilute your language to reach out to an even wider audience. Don’t. As, most of us read your stories in some electronic gadget or the other, word meanings are just a click away and those who find your language difficult will do well to put in the effort to understand the fine nuances of your construction. Yes, it is also true that your humour is subtle and you do have a forked tongue – but people who are fountain pen fanatics are, without exception, men and women of letters, who derive immense enjoyment from your often dark (and at times, self-deprecating) wit. I personally like your nuanced delivery and just love the understated expletives, which stop short of being offensive, without leaving any doubt in the mind of the sufficiently well-read reader about your lashes. Dumb Down? Hell, No!
You are, by no stretches of the imagination, either the biggest collector of fountain pens, nor are you the first blogger to be writing about them. People have blogged about fountain pens before you and there are many who have bigger collections. Though it is relative, I guess there are even many among us who are more passionate about fountain pens and inks and accessories than you are. But where you have scored over all of us, is in your ability to combine all of it – the passion, the collection, the ability to write, the garrulousness of a habitual raconteur and the willingness to spend time and money for the benefit of the community. And you have done is consistently, without even floating up to gulp-in air. More than two hundred blog pieces over a span of two years? No, I cannot recall any other instance.
Inked Happiness today is a virtual storehouse for the fountain pen fascinated and the fanatics, to dip into. For research purposes too, you are an invaluable resource, as most of the information, by and large, are correct. As a matter of fact, Google points towards you when queried, with regular, even monotonous insistence, which I guess, is in itself an achievement of sorts. And congratulations for that!
Now a few suggestions. Improve the quality of photographs that accompany your stories. The images just don’t match your words in terms of quality. Write more about the histories of the fountain pens you review. Most have stories that have not been told and await someone like you. Stop glossing over the innumerable “inconsistencies” of the Indian Fountain Pen industry. You must call a spade a spade and be bold enough to highlight the various shortcomings (not always deliberate) of the pen makers. You must remember that your loyalties are to your readers, not the manufacturers. By taking the side of the manufacturers, as you often do, you encourage them to get away with murder and the average buyer suffers. I notice a “soft corner” for the Indian pen makers, I notice how you use your considerable language skills to guard their failings, I notice how you try to gloss over their faults, weaknesses, imperfections, shortcomings. Don’t. For heaven’s sake, desist. And if you continue to so, and get your credibility dented, you will only have yourself to blame. And for what? A couple of self-seeking businessmen who are out to stoke our passions for their selfish gains?
Inked happiness is now a platform where many of us pen lovers congregate from around the world. It is my earnest request that you use it to spread the habit of handwriting, lettering and calligraphy, especially among the young. You should also make it your mission to ensure that the noble hobby of fountain pen collecting is divested of the “elitist” tag it has erroneously got stuck with. Fountain pen collecting need not be a calling for the rich and the mighty – it can be enjoyed by anyone and with very little financial involvement. I will personally request Inked Happiness to do everything that you can, to help spread the habit of writing and the hobby of collecting.
Dear Suvobrata, I am not signing this mail as I would rather that my identity remains unknown, for the simple reason that if my name were to disclosed, I fear, the attention will shift from the content of this mailer with the headless chickens running all over the place confounding the confusion. Suffice to say, I am a fountain pen aficionado, if not a connoisseur like most of you and wish Inked Happiness well, for the sake of the industry and the serious hobbyists.
Stay healthy. Keep your Pens inked, your ink wells filled to the brim and may Inked Happiness continue to splatter its inky happiness on all of us.
Anonymous Piston Filler.
I don’t know how to respond to this. Simply put, I am overwhelmed. Thank your for the blessings and the good wishes. Will try my best to live up to your expectations. – Suvobrata