Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ode to a Humble Gel Pen


I am a fountain pen guy. I just love fountain pens. I do not know about others, but I enjoy cleaning fountain pens, filling them, rotating the several ones I have and packing and storing them lovingly and taking them out once in a while just to enjoy looking at them.  I have to try very hard to resist buying the ones which catch my fancy. Fact is, most fountain pens catch my fancy. I never buy ball point or roller ball pens. Never. Not that I do not have any in my stockpile, but they are never purchased by me. They are all gifted.

There is another category of pens that come into my possession. These are the giveaways. Handed over to you in folders at conferences, Annual General Body Meetings, Residents ’Welfare Association meetings, during visits to institutions and factories, in training sessions and even in some airline flights! They range from the wonderful twist action Roller Ball Pen given to me by Maxwell School, Syracuse University to the gold Cross pen by Vatican to the cheapest ballpen that would not see me even through some doodling in a boring board meeting. I just throw most of them in a large beer mug I have on my desk. They sit there mostly unused, till they find their way into the bottom drawer of my old chest of drawers or into the garbage bin.




There is one exception to this routine. They are the Add Gel pens given away to me every time I visit India’s premier National Police Academy for the training of Indian Police Service officers at Hyderabad. I am a frequent visitor to NPA. I frequently conducts trainings or give lectures to the trainees there. I am also a member of the Board of the Academy necessitating my attending the Board meetings. The NPA has zeroed down to Add Gel pens. And thank God for that. I find these writing instruments the next best things to a real fountain pen.

These pens are the product of Mumbai based Add Corporation, who have been producing these and other fine writing instruments from 1987. Currently they have two state-of-the-art production facilities at Umbergaon and Daman in Western India.

The ink never dries or runs out. The blue is a nice shade reminding me of Diamine Majestic blue and black is also very pleasing shade. I have literally dozens of these placed at strategic locations like bedside, kitchen table, hung on refrigerator and near the WC in the toilet.  Whenever one has to take notes on paper with poor quality or unsteady support, I would not like to risk using and damaging my fountain pens. These Gel pens are pressed into service at these occasions.

The rubberized grip with indented pattern helps achieve good grip. The size of the grip is such that almost everyone finds it comfortable to hold. The writing quality is, like in almost all gel pens, smooth as hot knife on butter. Good thing and bad. My handwriting tends to get bad if the writing is so smooth. Good thing is, I can put more pressure on the paper and increase resistance without fear of damaging the nib.



I occasionally buy red and green refills for these. I use the green and red Gel pens to underline and highlight the important points in my ‘to do’ lists and lecture notes. Red is also useful in correcting drafts.

I only wish Add would make a nice well crafter resin or metal holder for the refills so that one could also enjoy the feel of the pen as well as the smoothness of writing. For me, what I really miss in the Add Gel pen is the solid feel and balance of a well made pen. The plastic light thin cheap body takes away from Add gel half the pleasure of writing.

3 comments:

  1. I can make out with the words from your heart that how much you love fiddling with your pens. Its a wonderful passion, indeed. Very well written account.

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  2. I loved you blog. For two reasons:
    1) I am a fountain pen buff myself and
    2) The way you account stories about your collection

    Also, I would like to mention that you have an excellent calligraphy...!!

    I am still getting to terms with my life and you would be surprised to know that I have been stalling buying a LAMY for over 3-4 months now. I walk to the closest staples store every now and then....
    Every glass window with fountian pen catches my fancy...!!

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    ReplyDelete