If you are a collector of Fountain Pens, an aficionado, then you too must nurse a desire to own an Indian fountain pen, one that will hold its own in your collection of the epoch makers, even give you pleasure as it records your thoughts for posterity.
Problem is, Indian manufacturers are everything but customer savvy. Having a website is anathema to most of them as they try to make do with a facebook page. Where, when one posts a query, one is inevitably led to a whatsapp number, if at all, that is. When will these people realise that the entire rigmarole is enough to turn most potential buyers off?
Not ASA pens. They may not have the most visually appealing or functionally appropriate website, but it works. Orders are acknowledged, and shipments received with a glitch. Thank You. Though, queries are royally ignored in keeping with Indian traditions.
My first order was an ASA Aqua Blue Translucent Acrylic Nauka Fountain pen – the name is quite a mouthful, but trust me, so is the pen. It’s a 3 in 1 with a JoWo 1.1 Dual Tone nib and came with a Schmidt K5 Converter. And yes, apparently, they also test their pens before dispatch, provided off-course you tick the right boxes upfront. A bit tacky, for, who wouldn’t want to have their stuff tested before they buy, but then again, who knows?
The pen itself is a champion. It stands head and shoulders in length (and girth) above the ordinary, though it is not your typical muscle pen (if there is anything like that). The weight is just perfect in the hand and is evenly balanced as one writes. Besides, it holds good even if you post the pen and continue unabated. The feel of the material as your fingers spread around them too, is pretty nice. Overall, no complaints, except perhaps the fact that it sticks out from your shirt pocket, but so does Michel Jordan in any crowd.
The torpedo design (or is it a cheroot?) too is a bit off the beaten track, especially with the light blue translucent body colour. But I am not complaining – it is a head turner, if anything is. The real delight is in the fact that there are no threads in the barrel, with the cap screwing on to the threads near the section top. As a result, the shape is seamless, adding to the delight of writing with it. The threading too screams of master craftsmanship and believe me, you will want to salute the guys who have turned this pen.
Tons of paper have already been used up with comments about the JoWo nibs – they are made in Germany, which is all that I need to add. Mine is a medium and acts exactly as the German football team – low on nonsense, high on professional competence and in the final analysis, when it comes to the crunch, it is a warhorse. To put it simply, it writes beautifully and tirelessly – a rare combination, especially in a fountain pen.
Now for the price. I have paid obscene amounts for pens that are nowhere near this one either in performance or in the overall look and feel. In a world that is flooded with Chinese fakes, it sure feels good to hold an Indian product in one’s hands – German components notwithstanding.
Just one small thing that makes me wonder. Why doesn’t the company brand its products? The nib, the barrel, the cap, the clip – nowhere is the AS name embossed / engraved prominently. I write this because the almost illegible scrawl on the cap doesn’t really cut much ice. The love with which the pen has been crafted is obvious, yet the creators do not want to take the credit that has been earned so passionately and painstakingly? Beats me, India is indeed Incredible.
NOTE: I am a genuine buyer and the pen tested was purchased from the manufacturer without them knowing about my intention to review it. I have purchased a lot of assorted pens from them and intend to review them one at a time. Do stay in the loop and drop in your comments, ticking me off if you feel that I am straying from the point (the beaten track is a different thing though).