Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Lost World - of Postcards, Fountainpens and Floppy

Tuesday, March 11, 2008, 00:22 AM
The world is moving fast and we are moving fast and I am moving fast. I was just thinking what all is that constitutes the lost world to me. So, here is a list of my things from 'The Lost World' ( in no particular order of chronology or emphasis) :

Postcards : Postcards, cheapest means of long distance communication at 15 paise per card. How long has it been since postcards have become obsolete. I don't know if the P&T department still have postcards on their menu. Not only postcards, even the inland letters have become a thing of last century( and literally so, we are already 8 years into the new century or rather new millennium) . It seems that telephones( and lately mobiles), internet and emails have made their way real fast.
I still remember when 'Surabhi' used to get loads of these in response to their questions from all over the country. P&T then came out with special postcards for the purpose of posting to programmes like Surabhi and others for answering questions for lottery. Now, looking back, I don't even realize when written communication was taken over by phones and e-communication and online social networking ; postcards replaced quietly by SMSes and mobile voting.

Fountain pens: Fountain pens, or ink pens which were once used so commonly by everyone, now find few patrons. Fountain pens are still in use, but have become somewhat niche.
This is what wikipedia mentions about Fountain pens :
"The main reasons people seek fountain pens in recent times are for effortless writing and comfort (some sufferers of arthritis are unable to use ballpoint pens, but can use fountain pens), expressive pensmanship and calligraphy, longevity (fountain pens are known to last several lifetimes, whereas ballpoints are disposable), professional art/design, their wider range of available ink colors, recreational collecting (history and heritage), and academic benefits. Many users also mention that fountain pens retain a sense of timeless elegance, personalization and sentimentality that computers and ballpoint pens seem to lack , and often state that once they start using fountain pens, ballpoints become awkward to use due to the extra motor effort needed and lack of expressiveness. "
As kids, we used pencils till class IV and switched to pens starting std V. We were always suggested to use ink-pens instead of dot pens to get our handwriting good. My first pen was an ink-pen, red in color with a steel cap, which my Dad got me. It had a unique suction system, I needed to rotate a small section at the other end of the pen. It was the best pen i used :) and quite advanced too. I was pretty disheartened when i lost it after a year or so. Then we had Chinese pens- they had a rubber tubing inside a steel case with a capillary running all the way to the nib(which was unique to the Chinese pens, u could nt fit a nib/jib of any other pen to Chinese pens); u need to squeeze the tubing and release to suck-up the ink. Also, i always used to get my favorite ink - Chelpark and wouldn't allow anyone else to use it :). Pilot pens were my next favorites. Even though it was difficult to write using them while maintaining speed, I wrote my board exams for X using a Pilot pen. I must still be having some old defunct pens lying somewhere at home.
But then we gradually switched to Reynolds and then to Cello et al, and lately, I realize, I have almost stopped using pens. Now, at the most, its to scribble something in my office notebook during some discussions/meetings(which is comprehensible only to me :)) or take down some contact addresses once in a while.
The world of ink-pens/Fountain pens is indeed a lost one for me.

To be continued , keep coming back ...


Ranjith Sajja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ranjith Sajja said...

Nice one buddy. I am wondering how ink pens could help to improve my writing now, which became like some ancient script due to the "A S D F .." culture.

VG said...

This post reminds me of the days when I used fountain pens. A brief period though... Hardly a year.. Because of sweating of my palms, using ink pen was a pain..

But now of course, even ball pens are things from the past. The last time I used pens was probably for my comprehensive exam for phd. All the rest is entered and stored digitally. And printed occasionally.