Pen Club of India has now grown into a community of about 700 ardent pen-lovers
Scouring flea markets and several pen shops in the city, Jain’s interest gradually evolved into a passion for collecting pens.
English writer Graham Greene once said, “My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does.” For several others like Greene, there is something very intimate about the act of scribbling one’s thoughts on a piece of paper with a pen, an innate joy that can never match the incessant tapping on a keyboard. Thus, pens of various types have been collectors’ item for long. Many have searched high and low for these collectables as well as for people who share this love.
In a similar vein, Ashok Jain, a pen collector by passion from Delhi’s Daryaganj, formed the Pen Club of India (PCI) in 1998. “When I was in school, I used plastic pens. I found a 14-karat Sheaffer Gold Pencil by chance. At that time, I didn’t even know pens could be made of gold. I was enamoured,” shares Jain. Intrigued by these writing tools, he decided to delve into their history, and discovered stories on the subject dating as far back as the 1800s. Scouring flea markets and several pen shops in the city, Jain’s interest gradually evolved into a passion for collecting pens. Today, he has an assortment of over 1,800 pens of several brands such as Mont Blanc, Sheaffer, Watermark, Visconti, and more. These are Jain’s prized possessions that he services by himself every month.
OF BLOTS AND FLOURISHES
A community that started with only 25 members, PCI has now grown into a community of about 700 ardent pen-lovers from all over India. Before COVID-19, the Delhi chapter would meet every month at different locations to discuss new pens, their history as well as how to service and care for these pens. Since then, the community has shifted to a WhatsApp group. “Whenever a new pen is in the market, we discuss its price, mechanism and other important aspects. Each member shares their inputs and it is nothing short of a real-life meeting.”
Talking about limited edition pens, KC Janardhan from Bengaluru, who has been part of the club since its inception, shares, “Limited edition pens that are a tribute to famous personalities are a collector’s delight but often difficult to find. Mont Blanc had introduced a pen on Mahatma Gandhi [in 2009], which was the colour of khadi and had Gandhi’s silhouette engraved on the nib; it was a very interesting concept.” Janardhan has also founded the J’s La Quill Museum in Bengaluru, a one of a kind museum of various writing instruments that he established “to keep this culture of pen collection alive”. Along with discussions, PCI also helps new pen collectors in organising their collections and repairs damaged pens free of cost.