This is the pen that was made famous by the “Munims” (traditional accountants of Gujarat and Rajastan). Just imagine – a tool of trade of the hard nosed, people employed to keep track of incomes and expenses – naturally, the device has to be reliable, robust and above all, value for money. It therefore goes without saying that even a slight deviation from the mean would make the munims avoid it like plague (or taxmen, or whatever)!
Thus, I was looking for the pen with a lot of interest and was surprised to find it listed in Amazon. Well, surprised twice as much to find it listed as a Sketching / Artist’s Pen along with brushes and other implements of painters. What was more, was the not so charitable comments from irritated buyers that accompanied the listing – the principal being the pen’s propensity to bleed. The fact that it came in a bundle of three too, screamed caution, but the fountain pen addict in me prevailed.
Well, am I glad that I went ahead and bought the pens! They write beautifully. What is more, contrary to all the negative opinion, mine does not bleed at all. Well, the flow is not as smooth as that of an MPFI system injecting fuel into a car’s engine, but what the heck? The quality of the written word is still pretty acceptable.
The pen is a tankard so far as the ink carrying capacity goes and is near NBA class in height with a healthy girth but is surprisingly light, even when fully loaded. The texture is smooth and has a way of being unobtrusively friendly to the fingers. It sits lightly on the grip and is a fairly friendly instrument so far as the ease of use goes. As a matter of fact, even after heavy, continuous use, the pen did not lead to any more fatigue than that is brought about by some of the most illustrious instruments of the same class – class, as in physical attributes, only.
As far as the looks go, it sports a mottled appearance that mimics the ebonite beauties of yore and comes with a generic golden nib with “iridium point” firmly etched on it. For the size of the pen, the nib unit is visibly smaller, but I guess such aesthetic matters did not really bother the wizards of the double entry when the instrument itself did its job without a glitch. The nib is placed at a grey area between an F and an M. The steel clip too is an eyesore – a huge turn-off, considering the way it clashes with the overall colour scheme of the pen. But here again, it needs to be underscored that the munims, were no collectors of fountain pens and to them, the looks were of little, or no consequence.
The most attractive feature of the pen however is the price – in this section it does one even better than the bargain basement prices. And mind you, I am talking about the amount I paid for three pens. No wonder it was such a huge hit with the book keepers.
The pen is sold / marketed by a stationary establishment in Gujarat (Khyati Arts, Rajkot) though not much is known about the manufacturer. My attempts to contact the entity was futile though I have requested friends in Gujarat to try and contact them, for, who knows, there may be more such examples of the so-called Gujarat Model!
By the way, it is said that these pens were created by a certain turner of extraordinary calibre from his shop in the Rajkot market. Legend has it that the man had the gall to ask Dhirubhai Ambani (who had visited the shop to get his tines aligned) to chuck away his Conway Stewart and use one of his locally made creations. And such impressive was his offering that from that day onward, Dhirubhai had put his Reliance on that pen. But then again, the Ambanis, especially the Late Dhirubhai has the distinction of being dragged into any and every anecdote recounted by a Gujarati and i have no way of establishing the veracity of the claims.
The bottom line? Don’t go for the cheap paper packaging. Don’t even discard it because it declares itself as a “Sketching Pen” or be dissuaded by the claimed “24 carat Gold plated nib” and “Strong & attractive Ebony body” (my italics) that comes at a princely price of Rs 125 per unit (Rs 375 for three)!
Buy it. It is bang for buck all the way.