The world of fountain pens is not given to much drama. People buy pens and inks and paper. They share it in the communities, and there are discussions around them. Sometimes the discussions get animated when differing points of view clash. But that’s about it. So it is a bit of a bonus when real excitement and drama happens.
A few months ago (or many months ago – one can never tell with the current state of timelessness we have been plunged into), some events occurred that sent the whole world of fountain pen enthusiasts into a tizzy. Every fountain pen group was buzzing with the latest occurrence, and every development was shared with much glee and excitement.
Like many good tales, this one too begins in the not-so-sleepy town of Palakkad in Kerala. Dr. Sreekumar, an anesthetist whose side gig is making one of India’s best known and well-respected brand of inks, Krishna Inks, announced the imminent release of a new ink he had formulated. It was called Paakezah, and all indications were that it would be a typical Krishna Ink – easy to use, easy to recognize, and hard to ignore. One of the USPs for this new ink was that it would be supplied in a specially designed glass bottle. The announcement was accompanied by pictures of the specially designed glass bottle.
We all read the announcement and were quite excited – the bottle was unique, and the price of the overall package was quite reasonable. A great many of us rushed in our pre-orders. All of this was within the Indian fountain pen communities. It took a few more hours for the announcement to be shared more widely on international fountain pen communities.
All of a sudden, there was a spate of comments that were, well, less than congratulatory. They accused the good doctor of being a cheat and that the design of the specially designed bottle had in fact been stolen from Gecko Design, a Taiwanese design firm that had won awards for that particular design. As expected, a goodly number of Indian fountain pen enthusiasts jumped into the fray as well, I dare say with more enthusiasm than actual knowledge, and a war of comments ensued.
Thankfully all this was put to rest by some swift and decisive action from the doctor. All pre-orders were stopped while they figured out what to do. Apparently, a vendor had supplied the bottles under the impression that it was a generic design. Krishna Inks then worked out a royalty deal with Gecko Design, which resulted in the cost of the ink going up a bit. They posted an update where they explained everything, apologized to Gecko, and resumed taking preorders. Supporters on both sides of the issue were appropriately appeased, and everything was as it was before.
I was one of the lucky ones to snag a limited edition ink in the specially-designed bottle – you can see from the picture why it was unique. I absolutely love the ink – I’ve been writing everything with it, from notes in meetings to letters to journal entries to doodles. It sheens beautifully and its color is something I will desist from trying to describe – you can see for yourself in the pictures why. I really hope they make more of the ink, even if it doesn’t come in a special bottle!