” The joy of writing.

The power of preserving.

Revenge of a mortal hand. “

– WislawaSzymborska(The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996)

Before I begin, I must confess that I typed this on my home computer! My romance with stationary, particularly pens, began when I was in class 5.My grandpa took me to a stationery shop one day and got me a fine tip Pilot pen. Those days by any standards that was the costliest writing instrument I could afford! I loved that pen especially with black ink. Those were the days when I was moving from pencil to pen. The class teacher disapproved of it. It was blotting the paper and smudging the other side making my writing shabby and illegible.

I had to use another pen. This time a fountain pen. I had never used one before. I received a dull looking pen and an ink bottle. I was skeptical but intrigued as well. The pen had the insignia “Hero” written on it with few Chinese characters. I started to love writing with this pen. The problem was my fingers were all the time messy with ink. But it didn’t bother me. My handwriting improved a lot as I started to enjoy writing as well as studying.

It was in class 8 that I got introduced to this new pen by Reynolds. It was simple looking yet classy pen, and it was all plastic. My friend had got it from his uncle living in Chennai. It was a refill pen and I loved writing with it. The refill pens were God sent I thought! I could write fast in exams and the refill would go on and on. I was never worried about the ink getting over. By the time I was in class 12 I had completely forgotten the fountain pen.

As I joined the medical college, I forgot the joy of writing. Writing and notes taking involved frantic scribbling with refill pens. I did not realize that my handwriting was deteriorating until one day I could not read my own notes! No wonder there are so many jokes about the doctors handwriting. Life went on. Pens meant jotter or refill pen and nothing more.

It was my daughter who introduced me back to the fountain pens. She enjoyed writing with it. I was nostalgic and thought about the “hero” pen. I didn’t know if it was still around. I went to the stationery shop and asked for one. The shopkeeper showed me a set of cheap looking pen. It was disappointing. My memory of the pen was different. He told me they didn’t make pens like those in the 80’s. I was not satisfied. My search for original Hero pens of the 80’s took me to an antique dealer.

He introduced me to the world of fountain pens! It was exciting to see the variety of pens he had. From Parker to Sheaffer to Mont Blanc. It enthralled me a lot. I took to writing with fountain pens once again. My handwriting improved once again, I could experiment with different ink colors too. I started collecting few pens too.

No matter how bad your handwriting may be. Writing with pen on paper adds a personal touch to things we do. It carries emotion unlike an electronic record. Unfortunately, the world is moving towards electronic records. Soon I know there would be days when you don’t even have to write a single word on paper. I dread that future. Until such time I would keep using my beloved fountain pen….

Dr S N Karthik
Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Specialty Hospitals, Madurai.

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