Rohit had to complete his crossword in exactly 2 minutes. He tried to better his personal best of 2 minutes and 20 seconds since the past week in vain. Now even though he and his family were on holiday in Paris, he was still at it, attempting the crossword of the Sunday Times. As he was copiously trying to figure out the answers, he noticed an immaculately dressed man walk in to the hotel lobby. He wore a jet black suit and a blood red tie. His hair combed and set, his beard trimmed, he walked over to the receptionist and borrowed a copy of the Sunday Herald. He came and sat near Rohit. What caught Rohit’s attention more than the well-dressed man was the gold clip of a pen in his breast pocket. He flipped to the crossword section, and unclipped his Waterman Expert. Rohit tried hard to concentrate on his questions; he had only 30 seconds left to solve 8 questions. He couldn’t get his eyes off the gold and blue barrel and chromium cap. He always admired his father’s Parker collection and wished he’d write with them, but he was restricted to Cello ballpoint pens. He resigned to finishing his crossword and asked the man,‘Sir is that a Waterman pen?’ To this the man looked up and replied, ‘Good morning! Yes, it’s a Waterman Expert, one of the finest in my collection.’ ‘Collection? You have more of these?’ ‘Oh yes, I am a connoisseur of Waterman and Sheaffer fountain pens.’ Rohit asked,’ Why only fountain pens?’ ‘They allow you to write smoothly, useful in highlighting writing style, as in signatures. The pen has to be held at a certain angle so that the ink flows freely from the nib.’ ‘These pens are calligraphy pens, an offshoot of fountain pens. They use plastic ink cartridges and feature a metallic nib for a writing point. They have nothing special about them but a controlled ink outflow, to provide cursive and stylized writing.’ ‘Well I use the standard ballpoint pens. They’re cheap, retractable which makes them fun to fiddle with and preventing the ink from drying up.’ ‘But isn’t the ink viscous?’ ‘It dries quickly!’ ‘No my child, a leaking ballpoint is messy as hell.’ ‘I like them for their convenience. When these pens run out of ink, I throw them away’, argued Rohit confidently. ‘Ever used Rollerball pens?’ ‘Nope!’ ‘ My father uses Parker’s Rollerball pens. I have to admit they’re very easy to write with and smoother than ballpoint pens for a few reasons. Rollerballs use water based gel, as opposed to the oil-based ink in ballpoint pens. The ink resembles the flow of a fountain pen. However they can be very problematic if they leak. Like ballpoint pens, rollerballs come in refillable and disposable versions as well as retractable and capped styles.’ Thus, people buy pens for different reasons. Some people see pens as a writing instrument, some see pens as a status symbol, and some see pens as a personal belonging and have a sense of attachment to their pen. Of the number of writing instruments available today, the pen is the one that has undergone a series of evolution.

From L to R: Rollerball Pen, Mechanical Pencil, Ballpoint Pen, Fountain Pens

Pens began as quills and reed pens which had to be dipped in ink. Much later in the 1000 A.D, came fountain pens. The 70’s ushered Rollerball technology. The types of pens discussed above are the ones that are most commonly available in the market today under different brand names.

Tune in to to check out different types of pens and have a Pentastic Day!


June 05, 2023 — Aditya Bhansali