Dr Sovan Roy’s Magnum Opus to
hit the stands soon!
Dr Sovan Roy is a scientist by
profession. And, a distinguished one at that, if one were to consider the sheer
number of papers published in the professional journals or his long and
blemish-less record as a Government servant occupying progressively higher
posts. But, it is not his profession or his achievements as a scientist that is
of interest to us – rather, it is his passion that sets him apart, as he stands
head and shoulders above us ordinary mortals.
For, Dr Sovan Roy’s passion is fountain pens – he has been collecting them, studying their intricacies, writing with them and compiling their history for more than three decades now, with a doggedness, forgive my generalisation, that only scientists are known to exhibit. It goes without saying that Dr Roy is no ordinary collector of fountain pens and that his painstakingly compiled collection is a treat to behold for connoisseurs. What is remarkable is the fact that all the pens, each one in Dr Roy’s impeccably catalogued collection, is one that has been acquired from the rag-pickers.
“I have never been enamoured
by the shiny expensive pieces that can be bought over the counter” says Dr Roy
with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “No, quite on the contrary, I have spent
my time and energy rummaging through the ware of the so-called raddi-wallah’s,
often paying a pittance for gems that would otherwise have been broken down for
their material, thereby denying the future an invaluable instrument to build a
bridge to the past”!
To Dr Roy, it is not so much
the physical possession of a fountain pen that is exciting – to him, it is just
a means to an end – for to him, it is the story that the particular pen
represents that is of interest. It is the story of technology’s advancement
through the development of the different filling systems, the use of materials
and the crafting of nibs; especially in the context of the times, the
socio-economic impact and the sheer entrepreneurial spirits that made such
advancements possible, that fascinates. Often, such backgrounders are bolstered
with the stories of the owners of the pens – how these men and women wielded
the instruments through their personal trials and tribulations, that add colour
to the pens, making each one an individual volume in a set – his collection
becoming the Encyclopaedia Fountainpen-ica of sorts.
Dr Roy too was fascinated,
like many of us are, with the history of Fountain Pen making in India. Being
the quintessential scientist in search of the truth, he however, did not give
up the quest, again like many of us, after reaching as far back as the Ratnams,
and prodded on. This long and arduous journey, spread over many decades and
many forays into the realm of the little known, is now ready to culminate into
a fascinating story in the form of a book. A book that has already got the
concerned historical circles buzzing with excitement.
Dr Sovan Roy has rewritten the history of Fountain Pen making in India and is about to unveil a story – backed by relevant facts, figures, documents, et all – that will bring to light a glorious tale of the triumph of an indomitable spirit against all odds, a story that will force many of us to look at our legacy of fountain pen manufacture in a new light.
The book is now ready and will
be unveiled shortly. Naturally, it will be inappropriate to divulge any more
details about Dr Roy’s magnum opus at this juncture.
Editor’s Note: Dr Roy has been kind enough to extend a generous offer to the readers of Inked Happiness and the members of Pen Lovers Kolkata. Interested Readers and Pen Lovers may please post a comment with your contact details so that the book can be made available to you at a specially discounted price.