August 22, 2011Andhra PradeshAsideEconomylevityop-ed

Sunday Levity: Handmade writing instruments

Now for something completely different

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Here’s an excerpt of an article I wrote for Mint Lounge on the wonderful handmade fountain pens of Andhra Pradesh.

Several years ago, I heard about a manufacturer of fountain pens in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, whose products were said to have been used by national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, and legendary newsmen such as Ramnath Goenka, N. Subba Rao Pantulu and S. Kasturi Ranga Iyengar. So when a speaking invitation recently took me to this town at the head of the Godavari delta, I decided to check this intriguing story for myself.

That’s when I stumbled on Andhra Pradesh’s tradition of handmade, ebonite fountain pens.

…it’s the fountain pens that have class. You might have noticed the boutique pen stores that have sprung up in shopping malls and airport lounges, selling foreign writing instruments that cost upwards of Rs. 10,000. Classic Indian pens will cost you a few hundred rupees, and although some might contend that the lower cost is a reason not to buy them, I find the idea of owning the pen that both Indira Gandhi and Goenka used rather appealing. [Read the whole thing at Mint]

Check out the blogs of Jayasrinivasa Rao and Satish Kolluru and the Fountain Pen Network forum that I mention in the article.

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