Calcuttans Relish The Inked Taste Of The Pen Mahotsav!
Pen Mahotsav was not just another event held on a Summer weekend to draw people out of their homes for merely looking at bland illustrations. Pen Mahotsav was not an exhibition that only contained expensive articles for the filthy rich. Pen Mahotsav was not a cacophony all about the foreign pen brands.
Pen Mahotsav was a carnival for everyone – starting from school students to passé pen collectors. Pen Mahotsav was a relief for every passionate fountain pen lover who could not visit stores to look and feel the touch of an FP for two consecutive lockdown-struck years. Pen Mahotsav was majorly about Indian FP brands standing tall and this time, not under the shadow of far-off brands.
The heat continued to suck the energy out of our minds and bodies. The humidity continued to dampen our souls with fatigue. And just as we were about to lose our calm to the next atrocity that came our way, Pen Mahotsav turned up to provide us with the much-needed respite. It would be an understatement to say that Pen Mahotsav was a breath of fresh air. It was, if truth be told, the Kalbaishakhi in itself.
The event kickstarted on 15th April, the Bengali New Year which is considered to be an extremely auspicious occasion and is celebrated with great fervour. Many FP devotees flocked to the Mahotsav from the noontime fighting the scorching sun and irresistible temperatures. Surprisingly, the sun’s rays were rendered weak against the indomitable spirit of Kolkata for fountain pens and related instruments.
Like some of my fellow citizens, I also reached the venue at midday to watch the opening ceremony and preparation by different stall owners. My first encounter was with Mr. Arun Singhi of Lotus, the magnum opus, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and the age-defining prodigy of the FP community. He had already completed his stall’s set-up and was ecstatic about the event. Like many other Indian brand owners, he expressed his excitement on his first Fountain Pen Exhibition in Eastern India.
As the event progressed, I met several other known names of the community, Mr. Hiro Motwani – Beena & V’Sign, Harsh Gagwani – Click, Nisha Singhi – Vazir, Nandish Shah – Stex, Ayush Surana – Ayush Paper, Hardik Kanakhara – Magna Carta, Subramaniam Lakshminarayanan – ASA Pens, Sandeep Awasthi – Kanwrite, Dia Vadodaria – Acriv Leather, Vikrant Mahadane – Livtek India, Abhishek Nair – penspecials.com, Rajiv Punjabi – Westend Sales Co., Abhishek Chordia – USC International, and many other dignitaries who participated in the three-day event and displayed their beautiful creations.
It was the first Pen Exhibition that I attended in my life and I must say, it was better than I had imagined it to be. The range was vast. The colours were striking. The owners were knowledgeable. The stalls were bustling with FP connoisseurs constantly enquiring about the newest additions, material quality, nibs used, lasting of inks, and other related questions that would have led them to buy the most perfect pens for themselves.
For three days, I hopped over from stall to stall to talk to the leading ladies and gentlemen of the FP commune to learn more about their brands and unique stories. And let me tell you, everyone was so welcoming and jovial about it. Since the Pen Mahotsav had swarms of customers picking their favourites from the collection, the owners were on their feet all the time, in awe of the familiarity of Calcuttans with Fountain Pens, Inks, Notebooks, and so on.
For a moment, I was bowled over by the cluster formed around the stall of Sulekha (was saving the most vintage Indian brand for the last). People were expressing their delight after reaching Sulekha’s stall, as if they had recovered a relic from the bottom of the sea. It is because most Calcuttans, at one point in history, only knew of one ink – Sulekha! And at Pen Mahotsav, when they saw their favourite brand returning in full swing, they simply could not hold their horses to get their hands on a bottle of Sulekha Ink!
All in all, Pen Mahotsav was a first-of-its-kind event in the City of Joy. And it sure was an event that would be remembered for years. This is my haul from the event, pens that are more like souvenirs and less like writing instruments. I received these pens from Arun Singhi Sir, Dia, Hiro Sir, and Sandeep Sir. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the same!
And this blog would be incomplete if I don’t mention Chawm Ganguly Sir, the reason I could experience all this happiness. No matter who knows me here, no matter what pens I get, the truth will always be that you introduced me to this world and made me what I am today.
To sum it up, nothing can take away the joy that the three days of Kolkata Pen Mahotsav brought upon us (I guess it is safe to make this statement on behalf of everyone who attended the event). To more FP exhibitions and lively interactions, a loud cheer!
Namoshkar. So excited to read about the wonderful PenMahotsav and about the wonderful Penlovers Kolkata. Such a pity that I did not know about this event until much later. Will there be another event like this in Kolkata next year? If so I will make plans to visit then. I reside some distance away in UK .
I am extremely happy to stumble across Penlovers kolkata and PenMahotsav.
Since my childhood all we were familiar with was foreign pen brands not realising that there are such good Indian brands . I am eagerly looking forward to my next visit to the greatest city in the world..Kolkata. Instead of landing in Kolkata and immediately rushing off to famous Mishti shops , I think I will be eager to visit the pen retailers on my immediate arrival after the mishti shops.
Love and best wishes to all Fellow pen lovers of Kolkata. Jai Hind.