Mohi Pens of Aurangabad all set to take Marathi Abhiman (Marathi Pride), honed to perfection over two and a half decades, global in a big way.
There is good news from the Aurangabad (Maharashtra) based Abhay Pen Agency- makers of the “elusive” Mohi range of fountain pens. In fact, there are a number of little snippets emanating from the brand, news that is sure to spread cheer among the fountain pen community, especially those in the lookout for quality fountain pens of Indian origin at reasonable price points.
For the uninitiated, Abhay Pen Agency started as a dealer of fountain pens way back in 1971 and went into production in 1995 with a modest backroom operation, when the Mohi brand name was adopted. This year, thus, also marks the twenty-fifth year as a manufacturer – no mean feat for a home-grown brand which has seen some of the worst times for fountain pens since the fag end of the last century. As a matter of fact, Mohi’s first forays into pen manufacture was with plastic moulding and it was only in 2003 that it found its niche in the ebonite segment. It will also not be out of place here to mention that to stave off the hard times, Mohi had even ventured into the world of OEM and continues to supply some critical components to a Chennai based manufacturer of ball point pens.
Today, the four brothers, sons of Suryakant Mohiniraj Pathak, founder of Mohi, run the lathe machines as they hand turn the much sought-after ebonite pens. Production facilities have been revamped with the introduction of CNC in which the acrylic line of Mohi is made. Till date, Mohi only makes ebonite and acrylic fountain pens – that too of the eye-dropper filler types, stubbornly refusing to jump into the bandwagon that caters to fickle consumer tastes. While production is strictly in-house, Mohi pens are fitted with Kanwrite nibs which is obviously another reason behind their big draw. The weak link in the entire production line – some say shrewd business move – is the distribution, the last mile connectivity to the consumer, as Mohi pens are mostly sold from the entity’s own retail outlet in Auragabad.
Apart from the obvious difficulty in acquiring them, the one thing that has always baffled me is the almost bargain-basement pricing of the Mohi pens – which, on the basis of their quality alone, me feels, are capable of demanding (and getting) a much higher price. I therefore didn’t beat around the bush and asked Anant Pathak straight, as to what is the secret behind the pricing? Anant Pathak was non-comital, choosing the subterfuge of “we have always worked at the lowest possible margins”, but what remains unsaid is Mohi is perhaps one of the few Indian brands that did not throw actual costing to the winds to align the pricing to Dollar terms and rake in a windfall, as costs remained constant but the realisations zoomed following the sudden internet driven explosion in the market size.
“Yes, the market has definitely moved up in the last couple of years” says Anant Pathak, “and it is extremely heartening to see youngsters asking for fountain pens again. More and more people, young people, are becoming aware of the benefits of writing with their own hands, of using a fountain pen as they become tired of keying in mindlessly. That this new generation is accepting our products, that they are appreciating our quality and craftsmanship gives us great pleasure and I certainly hope and pray that they continue to enjoy the beauty of the written words and the instruments that bring their thoughts to life in such a glowing manner”.
At Mohi too, the young are moving in to make their choices clear – the third generation of the Pathaks is now ready to gradually saddle up and the first task that the Generation Next has taken upon itself is to create a web presence for Mohi – not only to refurbish the value system that the brand espouses, but also to create a platform from where it can reach out and address the needs of the fountain pen aficionados from around the world.
What is more, to better align its products to the needs of the new age, Mohi is also actively working towards the creation of fountain pens that will incorporate the cartridge / converters. The technical issues – read threading and other matters, are being addressed and while the aesthetics will remain unchanged, the new line will be as fit as a fiddle in meeting the global expectations. That, backed by a web-based distribution system; Mohi’s proven obsession with all matters quality and the kind of customer support that only family run organisations like Mohi are capable of providing, and it will be time for the fireworks.
That brings us to the question of a definite timeframe and Anant Pathak, is at his risk-averse best, not willing to make commitments before they are certain, “give us a year and we will certainly have everything in place” he says, factoring in even the fallout of the lock-down.
Not really a big wait considering the fact that I had to wait for a friend to go Auragabad to get my first Mohi (an Aura), which had taken more time since it first started hogging my dreams. The pen weighs ideally for a daily carry; is superbly balanced; its ebonite body a tactile tingle; the nib writes with a wet consistency that alone is a heart-warmer and the ink-window at the bottom of the barrel is a definite eye-candy. The Mohi Aura is certainly the type of fountain pen one says “I do” to. Waiting for such a partner is something any lover of fountain pens will gladly do – the Indian origin and the very attractive price point not even being brought into consideration.
There is another very interesting point about the Mohi Aura that I feel needs a mention here. The cap does not have a breather hole, which are normally incorporated to ensure that when the cap is unscrewed, no vacuum is created leading to an overflow. The inner cap too, is conspicuous in its absence. I was naturally inquisitive about the missing breather hole, though to be fair to Mohi, in the many months that I have consistently used the pen, it has never bled. The secret, Anant Pathak explained, is the unique design of the feed, which locks in and seals off the excess ink flow. There certainly is a lot more than meets the eye in Mohi Pens. Watch this space – we will keep you posted as it goes out to find its place in the global fountain pen sun – the collector’s heart!
For More Information: https://www.facebook.com/Abhay-Pen-Agencies-535857406560593/
Our friend from Hyderabad – banker, Fountain Pen Lover and possessor of the aura of a collector supreme (Jyoti) has sent pictures of Mohi pens from his collection: