Time to Upgrade

When I was growing up, Parker pens were a big deal. Those special pens were expensive and given as gifts on special occasions. Think of your sacred thread ceremony (পৈতে), the birthday where you also happened to top your class final exams, or the special uncle who visited after five years and had to prove that he was well off - that is when you received one.

Almost as a rule, we would stash those away. Possibly to give away as gifts to other kids on special occasions, or to be opened when the "time was right". I revered these pens, of course, and any time I heard of a professor or someone who wrote with one of those, it immediately elevated them into a haloed status for me. It either symbolized wealth, or erudition, or both.

On that day, we were about to go to a sacred thread ceremony of some social acquaintance. I was tasked with finding a good pen set from our cupboard where these were stored. I started going through these one by one. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a “pen-set”, it was usually a couple of pens in a fancy box. One of those would be a fountain pen, and another would be a ball-point pen. Almost as a rule, each of the ball-point pens I went through that day had run dry. No amount of scribbling on white paper, shaking, rubbing hands around the refill tube or other home remedies could help. Some of these casualties of neglect also included Parker pens. I remember my mother reminiscing sadly, that at least a couple of them were from the time that she received her PhD. They had run dry - simply because of disuse. We eventually did find a fresh set of Parker pens to gift to the boy. I got my hands on a set that was about to get thrown but we dramatically revived it using the aforementioned techniques. I started writing using a “Parker pen” from that day.

It became, of course, the neighbor’s envy & owner’s pride. My friends would remark about the fact that I was now a high roller (no pun intended), but they soon got used to the fact. I ended up using a lot of the expensive pens that were gathering dust at home, and then when the supply of these costly pens eventually ran out, I started using the old ones again. It was an inconsequential transition, and I could feel the difference between an ordinary pen and the branded one. It did not make me desperate enough to go and start buying Parker pens, but I would still start writing with one when I got one of those as a gift, and then downgrade again.

Parker pens are still a big deal. They are stylish, expensive, and I am sure they are great to write with. (www.parkerpen.com/en-US/shop-online) But it has been a long time since anyone gifted one to me, and I might just write with one if I get my hands on them. But the incident from that day is etched in my mind. I believe the time to upgrade is now. Go find your stash of things for “the special day”. That day is today.


  1. When i'm buying a gift for someone, my thought behind it usually is, that it should be something the person likes, but is never going to buy it for him/herself. Parker pens fit that description quite perfectly. And yes, i've never bought a parker pen for myself, and i have about 5 or 6 beautiful pens in my bag, but they're only there waiting for the right time :)

    1. Ferret - glad to have you back! Like I said - you must start using them! :)

    2. Finally I did sudipta, and in fact brought out the special diary also :D

  2. I am a fan of old-style fountain pens. Your handwriting is so much better with them and they have character and style too. Nothing like present day use-and-throw gel and ball point pens.


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