The Pen and Patience

patience, quotes, motivation, photography
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The pen
If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm,” – Mahatma Gandhi
How poor are they that have not patience ! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” – William Shakespeare
It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” – Julius Caesar
There you have it, a few examples from the countless number of people who have spoken and extolled the virtues of patience and yet we find ourselves deeply immersed in impulsive and brash behavior. No matter how many articles are written, no matter how many talks are hosted and no matter how many times we fall, we keep repeating the same mistake of shoving aside our patience.

Even the sacred Bhagavad Gita speaks on patience in the following context:

“Patience is the opposite of anger. The nature of this world is that both good and bad things will happen to us. The proof of our spiritual advancement will not be that good and bad things don’t happen to us, but that we react to these events properly and with even-mindedness.”

However, in this post, I’ll be talking about a tool/instrument which is present in almost every household and almost every school going child must have used. Yes, I’m talking about the fountain pen. Children were taught to use fountain pens to imbibe in them the important virtue of patience and help them in overcoming the problem of temper tantrums. On one hand, the fountain pens are messy, difficult to use, demand a lot of maintenance and a lot of ink and refilling but on the other hand, they carry within them a completely different art-form – calligraphy.

Although, it is not just the art-form, using a fountain pen is one of the most vivid memories of a child’s upbringing. Remember the time, around 5th or 6th grade, when all children in schools were told to make the transition from the pencil to the pen. Children flocked to the stationery stores along with their parents to make their first purchase of a good fountain pen and then they would go about learning how to fill their pens with ink and carry the ink bottles to school too. The mothers would then have a tough task of cleaning the ink stained uniforms of kids and also removing the ink from their hands and mouth.

The process was messy but it disciplined the thought process and refined the handwriting of children. After poring over pages of cursive handwriting books, children eventually learned to write legibly and to appropriately space the fonts. Remarkably, the pen was able to also unleash a wave of creativity which could otherwise be wielded using a paintbrush. With the pen, words started flowing freely and steadily but art wasn’t the only skill that children learnt. In the process of taking care of the pen and handwriting, it made our minds slow down, just enough for us to actually savor the beauty of words created on paper. Not only that, the pen forced us to think before we spoke or wrote anything, a very important quality necessary to be taught to kids. The pen, in many ways, resembled life and its various phases.

Just like maintaining the nib of the pen, it taught us to look after the key people in our lives.
Just like refilling the ink, it taught us to keep refilling our lives with the vital happiness needed for survival.
Just like the mess which the ink created, it taught us that life is messed up in a lot of ways, always try to straighten it up as much as possible with a smile on your face.
Just like the contact of the nib to paper. it taught us that we can touch the lives of many people in our lifetimes and leave an imprint upon them.

34 thoughts on “The Pen and Patience

  1. Hi Jay, Your post took me back to my childhood days and made me think about my own experience with the fountain pen. Alas schools no more recommend these pens. the new gel pens have elbowed them out and the whole fun that came with it.

    Great post, you actually unfurled the spiritual side of working with a fountain pen.

  2. Aha…great post, Jay!! The joy of writing with fountain pen is not there for the present day youngsters or even the oldies like me today !… cleaning pistons, and giving a gentle squeeze on the fillers took me to my school days! …deeply moving metaphors cited..:))

  3. Wow ! Like all of those who read the post! I was too taken to my school days, I can still remember how happy & proud I was when our teachers said that from next grade we would be writing with those pens. 🙂 I was elated ! The first thing I did was to take my mum to the market & got those lovely gel pens (as was the case). Thanks for such a lovely post! 🙂 The quotes enhanced the entire post ! 🙂 thanks 🙂

  4. Thank you very much for your feedback Meenakshi 🙂
    Yes, the ball-point pens and gel pens have taken over the place of the fountain pen, which is quite sad.
    Glad you liked the post. Do keep visiting 🙂

  5. Thank you for your feedback. Glad you liked the post.
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  6. Yes, the fountain pens have all but disappeared from the planet it seems. Only bureaucrats use them nowadays, it seems. They were definitely a joy to write with.
    Glad you liked the post, Panchali ji.
    Do keep visiting 🙂

  7. Quite interesting to hear the story of your first purchase. Why don't you write a blog post on your first purchase of the fountain pen.
    It was quite a thrilling time in those days when the teacher told us that, those were sweet memories.
    Nice to hear that you liked the post. Do keep visiting Tanya 🙂

  8. Few days back i was thinking about fountain pens and today ive read a beautiful enriching post from you.You have a wonderful thought process.The line which tells…we went to shops to pick the best fountain pen with our parents took me back in my childhood.Writing with fountain pen was a wonderful experience:)..Hope i could go back in my childhood.
    Nice post 🙂

  9. very nice post jay and wonderfully explained the concept of discipline or mold a child's mind that with practicle example of why and how to use fountain pen after 4th/5th grade. I remember my school days that i was ensuring not to mistake to keep my notes nice and clean nd refill the ink carefully to get compliment from mom, dad nd teachers. I liked the Geeta Message as well. excellent post jay. Keep sharing 🙂

  10. Reading ur review touched those tender moments of ma life, I realised that forgotten pen story was really important and tought me a lot…..ur are great writer jay I feel honoured to be with u…..
    Navdeep singh

  11. swords have been related to pens from centuries !!!! now nostalgia and patience also get attached to . really gives in a thought of the thoughts of a generation today =)

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