This evening, I made a foray into College Street to check out College Pen Forum. Wanted to see if there were some interesting new or old fountain pens. The trip itself was a bust since the the gentleman there thought that showing me various pens would be a waste of time and waas focusing his time on selling those inexpensive ball points and gel pens that were flying off the shelf.
Interestingly, amongst all those bulk pens, he had a winner of a fountain pen – the Pilot Justus 95. It has a very interesting mechanism that can turn the nib from hard to soft (and various settlings in between). Basically you turn the edge of the pen and as you do so, a metal plate comes out on top of the nib split. By controlling that fulcrum point, you control how much the nib will “give”. Very unique mechanism. That would set you back by over $320 in the USA or about Rs 25,000 in India.
However the most interesting experience was noticing that sign you see in the middle of the picture. You probably remember from your school days how you bought your notebooks (to write on). They were priced per notebook or might be by the dozen. That is how we grew up. That sign says you can buy by the kilogram – meaning the weight of the notebooks you buy. So, you pay by the weight instead of the count! I checked with my brother. And he confirmed that is how he buys notebooks for the nephews!
Never knew this!
Of course, letter writing for me is as much about writing with a fountain pen as much as it is about the pyrotechnics that follow it!!
Which reminds me – I got into sealing with wax after visiting the Dallas Fountain Pen Show last year. This year, in the Atlanta Pen Show, there was not even a single person selling the wax seal stuff!
My first executive admin – Vicky Cupit. Last time I saw her was in 2015 in a McDonalds attached to a gas station in a small rural town called Van Alstyne in Texas. She wanted me to write a letter to her.
So, here you go, Vicky!!
All the stationery and library set up has been moved to the new house together with all the pens and ink pots and writing pads.
This is the first letter from the new house (we have not moved in yet). This letter is headed Madhuri’s way to Singapore!
Of course letter writing is not just about fountain pens and personalized pads… it has include the whole wax seals to go with it!
Original plan was to use the downtime during year end to get all the handwritten letters that I still have neatly organized by person and in chronological fashion. Of course, Covid took my year end away. However, with the long weekend here, I finally got it done.
Some of the letters are from 1984! The “inland letters” of India are ready to just crumble up. Had to use a lot of caution to restore them. You can see some of the olden days “postcards” too.
The earliest letter is from my dad in 1984 followed by my best friend Avijit Bose’s. The latest one is from Madhuri Agrawal from Singapore from a few weeks back.
Some of the letters from my parents were too difficult for me to hold my tears back.
I told Sharmila about my project.
“I have organized the letters that I still have and some of the ones that I wrote”
“How do you have letters that you wrote?”
“Well, for international letters, I take a photocopy. Just in case they get lost, I email the photocopy to the recipient later.”
“How come you do not write any letters to me anymore?” was her next question.
“You used to write to me before marriage. How come you write to others still but not to me?”
“Why would I write to you? We live under the same roof. Moreover, we are on talking terms.”
Apparently, that did not convince her.
Maybe that Covid-time realization on silence might be not too futile after all.
I can foresee a day when she would ask me “How was dinner?”
Vowed to silence, I would furtively pen a letter and mail it. (BTW, our new house is bang opposite the post office.)
She can open up the wax sealed envelope a few days later and read out loudly “Needed a little more salt!” Or something like that!!!