Mother Teresa, the Saint of the gutters and a unique blessing
Mother Teresa had once said “it is not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts”. And yes, I have put all my love in the pens that I collect. It has been an all-consuming passion for more than three decades now and though I neither have the quantity, nor the quality to match the big boys of collecting, God alone knows that the love that I bear in my heart for the instruments to write about His magnificence is as pure as He intended it to be.
Growing up in Calcutta, going to a Jesuit Institution – the St Xavier’s College, which had strong links with the Missionaries of Charity, it was virtually impossible to not know about the Mother, or not to seek her blessings, or not to reach out, however insignificant such drops may have been in her ocean of divine goodness. I too, knew the Mother, respected her and admired her steadfast resolve to trod on her chosen path, irrespective of everything.
She was born Mary Teresa Bojaxhju in 1910 in Skopje in North Macedonia (then a part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire). No, I will not be able to find that in a map and all that matters to me is that the Albanian born had spent the most productive years of her life in the squalor of my city, tending to my people – the leprosy, tuberculosis and HIV / AIDS afflicted destitute whom we, still choose to banish from our consciousness, our cosy comfort zones. Her official religion never mattered to me, as it does not matter today, for to me her true religion was humanity – her deeds transcending all that is divisive, my head bowing before the saint in reverence, automatically.
And no, the Noble Peace Prize or the fact that she was canonised; or even that she, along with St Francis Xavier were named co-patrons of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta are of little concern to me – I revere her for the simple reason that members of the Missionaries of Charity that she founded profess a fourth vow to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor” before which the other three of chastity, poverty and obedience fade into insignificance.
Naturally as a collector and user of fountain pens, it had long been my ardent desire to have a Mother Teresa pen, one that I could carry close to my heart and every time I would use it, it would remind of how the Mother had liked herself to be God’s pencil, saying “I may be imperfect, but He writes beautifully”. But though the internet told me that such a pen did indeed exist, I just couldn’t lay my hands on it and used to goad myself into becoming a better human being, good enough for the Mother to bless me with her presence on a daily basis.
Then I went to the 1st India Pen Show in Mumbai, and in the very first table was a pen that looked so similar in look and feel to the grail pen that had so consumed by energies. I asked the gentleman “do you make the Mother Teresa pen? Do you have one I can have? Can you make one for me?”. The gentleman showed me a section with the unmistakable etching of the Mother, before we drifted apart.
I took up the matter after I returned home. Wrote to the gentleman. And last week he broke the silence – he had the pen. The necessary documents were exchanged, the monies were transferred and now I have it – my blessings disguised as a fountain pen!
It is a short, strangely frail in a stocky sort of way pen, just like the mother was. The iridium tipped nib or the cartridge-converter it came fitted with; or even the completely unrelated to the Mother floral pattern on the barrel, are of little interest to me – what matters is the image of the Mother on the pen and the fact that it writes beautifully, her ink of kindness blessing every word it forms, elevating the thoughts to some divine plane.
Hiro S Motwani of Insta Write – the man behind the V’Sign brand, the makers of the pen, needs a round of applause. He has done a good job with the pen – it may not have the accoutrements that make fountain pens look like Christmas trees, but performs its function admirably. The weight is right; the size as I mentioned, a tad bit on the smaller side; the smoothness and ink-flow good enough for the professional writer and the look and feel as ordinary as the “chosen ones” from among his children.
I know it is crass to talk commerce in a situation like this, and will thus restrict myself to just mentioning that the pen is reasonably priced.
A final word of thanks to Hiro S Motwani, who was kind enough to make a batch of two hundred fountain pens only to honour my request. May his tribe increase!