The other day we felt very Harry Potterish, we badgered a friend to take us to get ourselves fitted with the perfect fountain pen (not wand). The narrow lane between MG Road and Church Street in Bangalore does not quite qualify as Diagon Alley but the tiny stationary shop with its mercurial and somewhat fastidious owner can be a treasure trove of things quite magical in our opinion.
PS: Magic is not just about the fantastical. The notebook with beautiful paper, the pointy coloured pencils, the blocks of erasers as yet unused and the sharpeners presenting you with the possibility of pointiness, are all magical in their own way.
LL: And not to forget the multi-coloured post-its and the ink bottles with their built in block of blotting paper. Seriously, can it possibly be more cool?
PS: A stationary junkie’s delight! Of course the PENultimate pleasure is a pen of any kind but the ultimate absolutely has to be a fountain pen. Which is why when I saw the fountain pens the first time I went into that shop, I got so excited. And then of course I was told in no uncertain terms that just buying one off the shelf was not the way to go about selecting a sensitive instrument like an ink pen.
LL: I remember how indignant you were at being treated like a novice and more so apparently because the shop owner asked if the purpose of purchasing was for you to show-off the pen in your pocket or actually for use. But at least when we went the second time we had the good sense to take along a regular customer of the place who could vouch for the genuineness of our interest.
PS: And the experience was so different. I have never before bought a pen by first having to demonstrate the angle of my writing.
LL: It wasn’t just that, remember we were also questioned about our past ownership of pens and how we used and treated them, whether we preferred filler or cartridge, blue or black ink.
PS: And only then was he willing to let us loose on the samples to try out the nibs, weights, grips and inks.
LL: Most people would say ‘What’s in a pen?’ Since they are used to the regular gel pens, usually bought wholesale. Few these days understand the pleasure involved in simply holding a pen that fits your hand comfortably. Not to mention the visual appearance of the words forming on paper.
PS: Now it’s more about keying things in. There is no denying that ‘writing’ on a computer or jotting notes on a phone is more convenient. Remember when I was writing something in the coffee shop in a mall, a boy stopped awestruck just to watch and ask what I was doing?
LL: Definitely one of our most bizarre experiences ever!
PS: Anyway, going back to our magical pen fitting, I have to say, it was different to buy something from someone who not only knew what he was selling but was obsessed that it had to be just right for the customer.
LL: Very different from simply reading about a product and ordering it online. I am actually quite proud of my new avocado coloured ink pen. I almost get the feeling it chose me instead of the other way around.