Om from Delmoon – are you ready to write the Mantra?

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Is there a sudden spurt in religious-themed fountain pens in India? Are most major boutique manufacturers draping their holy cloaks around them in an act of reverence and presenting the image of one popular incarnation after the other because of some sacred compulsion? Has flaunting one’s faith somehow become the new fashion statement? Are the offerings demand-led? Or is it another case of everyone jumping onto the bandwagon in the hope of cashing on the trend, for whatever it is worth?

I do not know the answer, but the trend makes me curious. Most serious fountain pen users that I have known are refined people who prefer not to wear their religious beliefs on their sleeves, let alone make a spectacle out of it, in some perverse act deliberately aimed at denigrating the faiths of others. Naturally, they are not the ones who will be caught flaunting writing instruments with pseudo-politico-religious imagery on them.

Om from Delmoon

So, who are the major buyers of these shiny trinkets? The manufacturers are tight-lipped, but a little prodding reveals that there has always existed a market for such pens, especially as gifts during marriages. Traditional icons of Luxmi and Ganesh too were known to have been sought after, especially during auspicious occasions like Diwali. On the other extreme, images of Lord Buddha – serenity personified – have always attracted buyers, though more out of aesthetic appeal, than anything else. These Buddha pens are also known to have a good market overseas and generally sell well.

Over the years, I have collected many such pens from almost all the major players in the segment – Magna Carta, V’Sign, and Lotus, to name a few. They are mostly resin-bodied pens, on which Raja Ravi Verma-inspired images of popular Gods and Goddesses are hand-painted. Except for the sheer artistry involved, to me, the pens represent no special significance but obviously, I am becoming an exception as these pens are now finding buyers who want to carry them as examples of their socio-political piety.

The first pen in this genre that I had acquired was one from V’Sign – a brass barrelled pen on which the image of Mother Teresa was embossed. Not the finest in terms of craftsmanship, but a precious possession nonetheless. The Balaji pen from Gama, however, is a class apart and its silver filigree work is indeed a pleasure to behold. Saraswati from Lotus and Dakshina Kali from Vazir are also two of my treasured collections simply because of the way they have been artistically crafted.

This year in the Chennai Pen Show, the number of pens in this genre was, as expected, on the higher side. Much on the higher side for the comfort of vanilla pen lovers like me. There were ostentatious pieces that reeked of everything but spirituality, that too sporting obscene price tags. And there were the relatively less expensive, though one thought, that they too were tantalizingly out of reach of the common user-collector crowd. Somehow, the art form had taken the backseat, it seemed to me, as the Gods seemed to have descended on the pens with a vengeance. The proliferation of Urushi lacquered pens too, was an eyesore as every other maker seemed to have Urushi aces up their sleeves that were aimed at beating the Japanese in a game that has been perfected in Japan over many centuries.

It was then that I was waylaid by the Om fountain pen at the Delmoon counter. In a world of make-belief, it was like a breath of pure, fresh air and I was smitten at first sight. It is a simple flat-topped fountain pen, on whose cap and barrel have been etched the sacred Om repeatedly, like a prayer. Simple, elegant, and representative of a genre, without being either gaudy or expensive. Ravi Tiwari, the man behind Delmoon Pens (Delmoon comes from the Moon over Delhi) explained that the Om lettering had to be etched into the pen and then they were individually filled in, by hand, and finally lacquered. Not as simple as it looks, but perhaps it is this starkness that adds to the pen the kind of quiet elegance that it exudes.

Om from Delmoon

Delmoon Pens has come like a comet, blazing a trail across the fountain pen horizon. Ravi Tiwari, who has been in the trade for eons now, knows the market and the psychology of the consumers which is why he can produce instruments that create their demand. In terms of performance, he has honed in on the perfect nib-feed-converter combination and Delmoon pens are superb performers in terms of form, finish, balance, and feel. Suffice it to say, Delmoons write well and have all the qualities that make them stand out in a crowd.

Am I happy having added the Om to my collection? Ecstatic is a better word.

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Delmoon Pens – Ravi Tiwari, the man who makes the full moon shine on Delhi (