When was it last you used an ink bottle? I mean for writing. The advent of ball point pen has decidedly done away with the ink bottle. All said the ink filling activity was an exercise in itself. A cloth was a must to take up the dripping ink. Filling ink in a barrel pen required a lot of preparation. The ink bottle, the cloth to safeguard against spillage, a refill and the pen has to be in one place. First open the pen and expose the barrel. Then open the ink bottle. Use the refill to pull in some ink and carefully drop it in the barrel. Repeat until the barrel is full. Close the barrel. If you have not spilt any ink then store the rest of the things away. However life is not that easy. Many a time I would have the refill with the ink and realise that the barrel is not opened! Then we have to carefully slant the refill against a corner or ask the pesky younger kin to hold on to the refill or open the barrel depending on the degree of confidence you have on the abilities of the younger kin.
Then there the absent-minded amongst us who used to fill in the barrel by tipping the ink bottle very carefully because the refill has been lost. It was then the cloth was useful because the spillage was inevitably there to see. The parent’s anger on seeing a blue splotch on the floor or the bedspread is not something I wish for anyone to experience!
Where has all these gone? With throw away pens available at INR 2 it is bound to happen. Ink pens are messy. However there are people who love to write with an ink pen. The industry has solved the problem with ink cartridges to a large extent.
Preparation on the day of the examination now has no ink filling business. Only the entry ticket has to be carried along with some identification document if required. Pads too seem to be out of vogue. There is a limit on how fast you can write using an ink pen. This allowed the writer to think in between pauses. With a ball point pen which can take in a faster writing speed the writer does not have the gaps to think. Unless he munches his pen between his teeth he cannot think!
The artist amongst us has solved this problem altogether by switching over to a pencil. There was a time when a pen was a gift that I very much looked forward to. The pens now have moved from being a utility to the luxury class. Brands such as Mont Blanc, Cross, Waterman, Sheaffer and Parker prevail.
A thought just sprang to my mind. I have been going on about ink pens and just realized. For that matter when did we last write?