Sreenath Vishnu – bespoke luxury pens have a new name: Rytol!
Sreenath Vishnu is a man on a mission – to take the art of Indian Fountain Pen making to the global stage, to help the world of connoisseurs celebrate the rich legacy of Indian craftsmanship. Not an easy task, considering the not so bright state of affairs, so far as pen turning in India goes. As a matter of fact, the more daunting is the challenge, the more charged seems Sreenath Vishnu’s response, who takes intense pleasure in picking up the gauntlet life throws his way. Every single one of them, unfailingly, with a dedication that is hard to match in these days of the tinsel.
Here is a man who went all the way to England to learn the zealously guarded art of pen turning – from the Master wood turners who are known to protect their heritage expertise with ferocious intent. Ronald K Caddy, Master pen turner par excellence from Hampshire, United Kingdom, was under whom Sreenath perfected his art – for to him the act of turning a pen is no less a form of reverence stemming from the belief that anything associated with his name must carry his unmistakable, indelible touch. Today Sreenath Vishnu is a proud member of the elite International Association of Penturners (IAP) and Ronald K Caddy is a technology partner of Rytol – Bespoke Luxury Pens, the entity floated by Sreenath Vishnu to take his passion to fruition.
Rytol does not make mere writing instruments – preferring to work towards creating for itself a niche in the top end of the market, creating masterpieces – bespoke instruments of writing that adorn the hands of the discerning around the world. Says Sreenath Vishnu, “we believe that every Rytol pen that we make is unique, every Rytol has a story to tell, that each and every one is an extension of the person carrying it. They are as much accessories as they are instruments to write with and are made ostentatious for a purpose – Rytol pens are conversation pieces. Ordinary pens like flattery can be bought, Rytol pens and envy, must be earned!” Little wonder the aesthetics, the superb built quality, the glitch-free working, the attention to details – characteristics that are normally highlighted in the instruments used by “lesser” mortals are taken for granted when it comes to Rytol.
It will not be out of place to mention here a little fact that would bring the Rytol obsession with quality and craftsmanship to the fore – Rolls Royce, select members of the Qatar Royal Family, moving spirits behind some of India’s most sparkling jewellery establishments, apart from the usual retinue of industrialists and professionals, are all proud Rytol owners. Brand association, like they say, works both ways and there sure is nothing to complain about the company Rytol is already keeping! And talking of companies, one must also mention the fact that Sreenath Vishnu is the scion of Brahmins Foods, one of the leading brands in the field of manufacturing and exporting of packaged foods, which surely makes him the most financially well-off pen turner in India (perhaps even in the world)? Sreenath Vishnu smiles in affable modesty, almost apologetically – surely, passion and financial status are not mutually exclusive, his silent countenance, screaming in protest.
And now Sreenath Vishnu has embarked on yet another journey that is almost uncharted for Indian pen makers – a Rytol Magnum Opus, one, that will feature Russian miniature lacquer art. The art of creating miniature lacquered paintings on fountain pens is a Russian traditional art form, that, along with Japanese Maki-e, is without doubt known to create the most beautiful ornamentation on fountain pens. Needless to say, because of their rarity and exclusivity, Russian lacquer art on fountain pens is almost unknown outside a circle of a handful of elites.
Naturally Sreenath Vishnu is tight-lipped about the details. Suffice to say, as is the practice, he has turned the Rytol pens with his own hands and have sent them to Russia for the painstaking work of the actual paintings to begin. Sreenath Vishnu was kind enough to share the details of one such pen – one depicting the famous Russian fairy tale of “Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf”. Breath taking, as the attached pictures prove, will be an understatement.
Sreenath Vishnu however, the proud Indian that he is, has reservations either about terming his now creation a “collaboration pen”, or even, put an undue amount of stress on the Russian connection. He is also not happy with us terming the pen as a Rytol Magnum Opus. “The Rytol Magnum Opus will have an Indian soul, with Indian traditional motifs, made here in India by our own artisans. The superiority of our art forms or the finesse of our artists and painters are just waiting for the right canvas to win the hearts of the aficionados of high art. I will turn the instruments with my own hands and will request you to give me some time before I create the masterpieces that will be worthy of global adulation”.
Russian Miniature Lacquer art. Japanese Maki-e. Can Rajput and Moghul miniatures be far behind?
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