A popular saying goes “if you want to improve your handwriting, practice it with fountain pens”. There is a reason behind is the nib of fountain pens, which are known to be very fine and have an effect on handwriting. However, with the popularity of dot pens or ballpoint pens, use of fountain pens dwindled over the years. Yet today, some people continue to prefer the use of fountain pens, those for whom the gliding feeling of the nib is too much to part with.
Sadly, gone are the days when one used to write on paper, penning beautiful letters to loved ones or maintaining daily diary entries. Today’s generation is too tech savvy and is hooked to screens which leaves them with little time to engage in writing on paper.
Priyanka Das, Consultant Psychologist Mindfully Yours Academician(Psychology) Workshop Trainer says, “Young people want fast and instant communication and social media, allows them to do so at the click of a button. Secondly, it provides a platform for extensive communication – a post on social media can reach millions of people, hence a favorite among millennials. Most importantly, posts on social media platforms or sharing opinion or feedback give introverts and ambiverts a chance to express them.”
Das believes that handwritten notes are very valuable and meaningful. “It gives clarity because there’s a scope of introspection. This eventually provides relief and satisfaction. Whereas typed notes on digital platforms are much more mechanical in nature. Generally, in social media, we tend to see people posting about their opinion on an incident or event, or asking for justice, and create a poll for support. But diary writing gives us the freedom to go deeper in our thoughts, and hence the pleasure found in diary writing can never be easily replaced by digital platforms,” adds Das.
There are very few shops in Kolkata which still sell fountain pens. Dilip Nandi, co-partner at a famous stationary shop in South Kolkata called Zee18 says that he doesn’t get many customers for fountain pens. “Earlier our old customers who have the habit of writing with fountain pens and prefer to stick to the tradition buy them regularly. The younger generation is very casual when it comes to selection of pens. Mostly because this a fast- moving life for many people and the fetish for fountain pens have come down. Also, earlier young kids used to come to my shop to buy fancy fountain pens for their teachers. But now with so many options available most opt for ball points and gel pens. Only a few come and buy fountain pens. But we are happy that old traditions of writing with expensive fancy pens are still continued by some discerning individuals,” says Dilip Nandi.
Chawm Ganguly, a corporate communication professional has a unique passion of collecting pens. For over 30 years Ganguly has collected more than 7000 different varieties of fountain pens. “Fountain pens are regarded for the dance of their nibs on paper because the ink in fountain pens comes through a capillary action. Also writing with fountain pens improves the way of writing and the style. Definitely a fountain pen has its own beauty of writing and a fountain pen user will never find the same pleasure in holding any other pen, shares Ganguly.
The biggest disadvantage of ball point pens as pointed out clearly by Ganguly is that they can be a huge threat to the environment. The reason being ball points or any other low-cost pens are made of plastic and are for one time use unlike fountain pens which can be used for years. Plastic pens after they are thrown away often get accumulated in sea beds and increase carbon footprints. “I have been using fountain pens since eternity and I never use any other pen. These pens are used for generation after generation. I have recently revived Sulekha ink which was used by Gandhiji at a point of time. In today’s’ time, using fountain pens can act as reverse metamorphosis where the usage of fountain pens gives a sense of catharsis,” adds Ganguly.
InkedIn Happiness: a blog solely for fountain pen lovers:
Founded by Chawm Ganguly in 2018, Linkedin Happiness is one of the top rated blogs for fountain pens and talks about fountain pens made in India and having a special connection to Bengal. “There is so much to know about the history of fountain pens and people know very less about it. My intention is to give the Indian fountain pen brands a global exposure. I am associated with organizations in Nepal and Bangladesh and the demand for fountain pens is strikingly high there. I hope that someday I will be able to create a separate fan base for fountain pens,” informs Ganguly.
There is no denying that fountain pens have a distinct old world charm. No matter how tech savvy we have become good old fountain pens will remain a coveted tool of penmanship.