• thepenperson

Nostalgia - How it Began for me

I want to start with why I like Fountain Pens. When we were kids, in the early 80's, we were expected to use pencils till the 4th Standard (Grade/Class). From the 5th Standard, we were expected to use pens. Fountain pens were recommended, but ball-point pens were allowed. Some of our older teachers made it a point to insist on us using fountain pens - sometimes with a rap on our knuckles - literally...

Our school had two buildings and they were creatively called the "Old Building" and the "New Building" – because one was old and the other was new - relatively speaking. Classes for the 5th through 7th standards were in the Old Building. The old building had large airy rooms and desks and benches that were single piece. Every desk-bench combination could seat four students.

These desks were made of wood and they had depressions to keep pens and ink-pots on top of the desk. While I have not really seen anyone place an ink-pot in one of the depressions, we could theoretically do so if we wanted to. Some desks also opened and we could store our school bags in them. I think these desks had character and each desk was unique in its own way - rather like some of our teachers.

The new building had new desk-bench combinations that could seat two students side-by-side. They were also made of wood with metal frames, but no place to keep pens or ink-pots on top of the desk. So in my opinion, they somewhat lacked the character of the old desks.

Anyway, to fountain pens and this is how I was introduced to them. Like everyone else at that time, I used both branded and unbranded locally available eye-dropper pens. Common brands were Doctor, Camel (now called Camlin), Chelpark, Armour, etc. Filling ink was a long and messy business and carrying 2 – 3 such pens in our pencil boxes was messier. Our white shirts were ink magnets and I wish we had recorded the art created by blue ink on white shirts for posterity.

Using a Hero aerometric filler pen (colloquially known as “China Pen”) was a rare treat as was using a Pilot Micro-tip Pen (I learned much later about the Pilot Hi-Tec Point) and we typically used these only for exams or other special occasions.

Here are the pens from my school days that I still have with me.

From L to R: Wing Sung Fountain Pen + Ball-point pen combo, Hero Aerometric (China Pen), Unnamed (probably a Chelpark), Myawadi (my first Cartridge/Converter), Armour with hooded nib, Reymand

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