Stained fingers and a lot of nostalgia: Desi Twitter users recall the joys of using fountain pens in school

Published 12 Oct, 2021 05:30pm

Images Staff

Using a fountain pen was almost a rite of passage in many schools and a lot of people still remember using those coveted pens.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword but which pen? For many calligraphy enthusiasts and old school writers on Twitter, the fountain pen reigns supreme.

A conversation was started when Dr Katherine Schofield, a historian of music and listening in Mughal India and the paracolonial Indian Ocean, asked her British followers on Twitter whether they remembered using fountain pens in school and whether they still used them.

Well, we aren't British but in the Subcontinent we also used fountain pens in school. Writer Sadanand Dhume recalled using fountain pens starting from class six and many other desis did too.

In fact, many people noted that using a fountain pen wasn't exactly a choice.

In Pakistan, using Piano pens was almost a ritual, said one user. He also claimed that they were better for writing Urdu script, something we can neither confirm nor deny.

A user from Nepal had a similar experience. Our uniforms used to be perpetually stained with navy blue ink as well.

This is also a shared experience that transcends borders. Why did our teachers hate ballpoint pens with such a passion?

One user believes there was a theory behind using fountain pens. We don't know if we buy it.

People began sharing pictures of their fountain pens on the thread.

We don't know about you but using a fountain pen was a rite of passage when we were in school and Dollar was the popular pen of choice. Ink pots were initially very common until the introduction of the more expensive but definitely more convenient ink cartridges. Then came the fancy pens — ones that came in a variety of colours and patterns and were unnecessarily expensive — and the even more divisive coloured ink cartridges.

Using fountain pens (or ink pens as we called them) was something exciting for us as students, despite the fact that they left our fingers and clothes perpetually stained blue. What do you remember about using fountain pens in school?