Father, Daughter and a bond in indelible ink – for pens are fountains of joy, forever!

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A Doctor, a daughter and a fountain pen (sorry, many fountain pens)

The joy of touching a pen to paper is, in my humble opinion, a sorely underappreciated one. Every drop of ink holds the power to change the world – or someone’s world, at the very least. I was introduced to this joy at a very early age thanks to Baba.


I remember gazing in awe at the velvet-lined blue box with narrow compartments, each containing a weapon mightier than the sword. My crayon-wielding self, used to wonder, why they were special enough to have a box to live in while my colourful tools were piled into a bowl. Then, one day, Baba gave me one of those pens. It was a Pilot Elite – small and white, clean and bright – and what is more, it did look happy, to meet me. I fell in love with it. It was just the right size for me to hold.

Shromona Halder

As time went by, I developed the habit of hovering near Baba during the process of choosing a fountain pen to purchase. Baba would hand me a pen, tell me to try it, and solemnly ask what I thought of it. Six-year-old me, gratified at being consulted on such an important matter, would try to say something intelligent about each pen. Baba always kept the box of pens on the study table within my reach. At school, we used pencils; however, in class 3, we were asked to use a pen for ‘number work’. I was overjoyed. While my classmates delighted in gel pens emblazoned with cartoon characters, my homework was handed in in Waterman ink, usually from a Sheaffer or a Sailor.

Although I did try to take a fountain pen to school, I was paranoid about carrying something so precious, and constantly worried about its wellbeing hidden in the depths of my pencil case. After a few days of this, Baba and I decided to keep the fountain pens at home. Physics formulae resplendent in green, violet and magenta lay scattered across the pages of my notebooks.

Even now, most evenings will find Baba and myself sitting at his desk, frowning at a fountain pen, trying to find the correct angle to allow it to perform at its best. On Sundays, we clean our pens. The two once-white cotton handkerchiefs reserved for the purpose have never seen the insides of the washing machine; they are lovingly washed by hand. Regardless of the plethora of coloured splotches decorating them, the only colour they yield when washed is violet.


From Montblanc and Pelikan to Parker and Sheaffer, Waterman and Pilot to Sailor and Eversharp, our collection has grown, much like our shared love for these vessels of unimaginable potential. Nestled in Baba’s desk drawer sits our collection of bottled rainbows. The same pen is used for prescriptions and notes on Shakespeare’s sonnets, connecting father and daughter – two people who revere with all their hearts the music of the tines.

Dr Sougata Halder

Dr Sougata Halder is a leading city based Ophthalmic Surgeon who did his schooling from St Lawrence High School, Kolkata. “I grew up seeing the Jesuit Fathers writing with Parker Vac’s” he says, “Fathers who were living examples. Naturally, how the obsession for the fountain pen got ingrained into my value system or when it became an all-pervading passion, I cannot tell. All I can do is use this opportunity to put on record my gratitude to the Fathers who gave me my all.”

This piece has been penned by Shromona Halder who has just finished her schooling from La Martiniere for Girls School, Kolkata, with awe inspiring grades and has joined the St. Xavier’s College to pursue her love for the English language. She was the Chief of the Editorial Board in school and wants to pursue a career in Academics. If there is a patron Saint for the Fountain Pen, I am sure that His blessings will continue to be showered on the young lady.   



60 Replies to “Father, Daughter and a bond in indelible ink – for pens are fountains of joy, forever!”

  1. As I envy Dr Halders prescriptions when he refers patients to me the other editorial board members of the little one must be also feeling so with her handwritten pieces . With loving messages for the Duo that swirl in the ink of my pen but will not yield to the curve of my handwriting 🙏

  2. Extraordinary,heartfelt ,overwhelming writing by a daughter who is also a pen lover….the emotion simply reaches out to the reader specially if she is so dear to her!!

  3. Well, have known the Father since long, both as a colleague and a patients relative. A thorough bred gentleman, whose Watsap DP surprisingly proclaims, When you have to shoot, shoot!

    Nice and heartening to savour the literary piece penned by Shromona, well done dear.

    Since, the last 3 years I have shifted exclusively to Fountain pens, though my inspiration was to use less of Plastic. My 2 trusted friends have stood with me through the thick and thin of these demanding times.

    So, well done father daughter duo, do keep penning your thoughts dear Shromona…..

  4. Awestruck by the beauty & fluidity of her expressions! As a proud maternal grandfather, I wish her a very bright career & stellar accomlishments in her pursuit for perfection in study of Englislh language. Umed Jain.

  5. A beautifully penned ode to to a tool which has brought such joy to two very special people . A passion for pens is not something one notices in our times . It is redolent of more gracious and gentler era … thus all the more precious . Look forward to many more such expressions, crafted with passion and in rainbow coloured inks lovingly stored in the drawer .

  6. What a heartfelt and lovely story. Truly her words are touching. It was such a sweet article to read. I could really feel the emotion in the story.

  7. Lovely! I have my own obsession, while my children use, with anything that writes. I enjoyed reading your article or blog.

    1. I am enthralled to see the love that the young lady has for the fountain pen. i admire Doctor for giving his daughter the sailor at the tender age as most collectors usually want their children to experiment with inferior quality pens which can kill the habit of pen collection. Shromona,May your collection grow manifold.

      Have done a similar experiment with my daughters who both use Pelikans P lacquered series even though they are 10 and 8, contrary to the usual perception that they will lose the pens..After all the best way to make children value and treasure their pens is to give them a beauty.

  8. This article touches the heart , specially when Shromona says –

    “The same pen is used for prescriptions and notes on Shakespeare’s sonnets, connecting father and daughter – two people who revere with all their hearts the music of the tines.”

    Thanks Chawm for bringing out such love for fountain pens. Looking forward to more of such gems.

  9. Not to forget the man behind this…the quintessential maverick Chawm Ganguly…once uncapped, his jovial instrument can spew ink like a spitting cobra….

  10. Very beautifully written Shromona! All the best in your pursuit of your ‘ favourite things ‘

  11. It was such a sweet and touching piece. We are looking at a raconteur of immense talent. Looking forward to reading a lot more from you, Shromona ….. some of the other interests that Sougata has passed on to you, like photography, birds and travel.
    So glad to see that you are as passionate as him and just as gifted.

  12. Brillianly ‘penned’
    I too love my pens.
    Normally I would use a Cross …stopped doing it as I almost lost one in AMRI due to this pandemic madness.
    The Mont Blanc lies unused as I’m scared of losing it !
    But gel pens do do their job 😉

  13. This is so heartfelt pen down. I share the same, I am trying to cultivate the same in my daughters. I hope to pass on the legacy.

  14. Well penned, I know doc Halder personally, met several times, a good poet also. And for Shromona, keep it up. You will be our flag bearer in future.

  15. It’s really good to see father passing down one of the finest art and qualities of life to the daughter.
    In a present day parents are more willing to pass down the iPhone or the tab and Netflix to their children.
    Art of writing with fountain pen to me is not easy, you have to feel the fountain pen and the Nib. Once you master it, the fountain pen going to make marks as you want and to your writing !

    Good to see the tradition is being carried on to the next generation! Well done Sougata and keep up Shromona.

  16. A great and beautiful story. Love having writing traditions. The unique writing instruments with original watch parts from Switzerland are still missing. This Swissness handicraft is made by „www.retobochsler.com“ .
    Not only writing implements, but also other globally unique beauties.

  17. Beautiful.. and I love how this evolved into a father daughter bond..
    I clearly remember Doctors excellent handwriting in the fountain pen and I did try coming back home and write with an ink pen.
    I hope you keep nurturing this as a proud collection and strongly hold onto the memories associated with the pens.


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