Festival celebrates magic of fountain pens

Pen Mahotsav in Kolkata.
Pen Mahotsav in Kolkata.

Kolkata | In this digital age dominated by touchscreen devices, the fountain pen may seem like a relic of the past. However, for a community of pen enthusiasts, these elegant instruments are more than just a writing tool – they embody a timeless tradition of craftsmanship and creativity.

A group of men has organised a festival in order to revive the use of fountain pens and create awareness among people about the environment-friendly aspect of such pens.

Walking through the festival, visitors were greeted by a dazzling array of pens, ranging from affordable ones to exquisite collectors' items valued at lakhs of rupees.

For fountain pen lovers it is like heaven. It is like a festival for us all,” Tarak Dey, a fan of fountain pens, said while visiting the event, ‘Pen Mahotsav’.

Pens of various brands from India and abroad were put on display, inviting attendees to marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and timeless elegance of these writing instruments.

According to pen collector Abhijit Bandyopadhyay, Kolkata has a long history of fountain pen lovers.

“Pen shows are also organised in Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. But it is unique here because a lot of enthusiasts come and purchase pens – right from ordinary pens to costly ones, which run into lakhs,” said Bandyopadhyay, who is a professor at West Bengal’s Burdwan University.

The event, being held for three years in a row, has become a cherished gathering for hoi polloi and aficionados alike.

“Fountain pens are ergonomically important and healthwise better. By using fountain pens, a person’s handwriting becomes perfect, legible and beautiful. It has a vintage feel and is aesthetically more pleasing,” Bandyopadhyay said.

For many visitors, the event was not just an opportunity to peruse the latest offerings but also a chance to reconnect with a cherished childhood memory or discover a newfound appreciation for the art of handwriting.

Beyond the nostalgia and craftsmanship, the festival also highlighted the environmental benefits of fountain pens.

Unlike their disposable counterparts, fountain pens are reusable, offering a sustainable alternative to single-use plastics. By promoting the use of fountain pens, organisers hope to raise awareness about the environmental impact of disposable pens and encourage more eco-friendly writing habits.

One of the organisers, Prasenjit Guchait, said, “We have seen and used pens that were available at Rs 3 or Rs 4 in our childhood days. Today, children don’t know what a fountain pen is. So we thought of organizing such a festival to spread awareness among people, especially children.”

The festival organised last weekend is an effort to save the fountain pen from becoming extinct, said Guchait who along with Subrata Das and Sayak Adhya organized the event.

"Some use and throw pens here and there and these cause pollution. But fountain pens are reusable and you can change the ink and keep on writing,” Guchait added.

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