Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jacobinte Swargarajyam

 

Yesterday I watched this new Mlayalam movie : Jacobinte Swargarajyam (Jacob’s Kingdom of Heaven), written and directed by Vineet Sreenivasan, and starring Nivin Pauly. I haven’t felt such a positive vibe in years watching a Malayalam movie. I went to the theatre unprepared, recent hectic work didn’t give me time to read up on it. And I was pleasantly suprised and amazed that Vineet Sreenivasan could create such a nice feel good movie. And the how of it is explained in the end. This whole rags to riches to rags to riches (2nd time) story is based on real life incidents, one of many people who lost money during the financial crisis , and that of a personal friend of Vineet. And I am sure for years to come, this people are going to watch this movie just to get inspired.

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For once, Nivin is happy playing Jerry,the eldest son of Jacob, and he watches silently from the sidelines as Jacob (the fantastic Mr Renji Panikker) shows him how to run their business. He talks to Jerry as a friend, and shares his philosphy and hard work, honesty and perseverance is all that one needs to succeed in life. Jerry takes control only in the second half of the movie, where he proves that he too has his father’s business acumen and won’t give up without a fight. Jacob and family live a very comfortable life in Dubai, where he has built his empire of business. He is extremely positive, and is proud of his achievements, and wants his children to become even more successful than him. He helps the poor, and the entire family is god fearing.  His family is his everything, and he knows that when he loses everything else, his family will be his only wealth. When a family is so well settled and close to one other, what could go wrong ? And then the movie plays out exactly this scenario. His business contact cheats him of millions of Riyals, and his investors come knocking at the door wanting their money back. Jacob stands ground, and finds a way to make some money, for which he has to leave Dubai. in an very emotional scene ,he asks his eldest son to handle matters till he gets back, and leaves Dubai.

All hell breaks loose. Jacob in stuck in Liberia (I didn’t even know such a country existed). The police arrest Jacob’s wife, and Jerry. Though Jerry knows the business, the establishment is tarnished, everyone knows the company made a huge loss, so no one is ready to do busines with them. Jacob’s second son turns out, is a black sheep,and they have to sell all their properties to generate some funds. Except for very few friends, Jerry has no one to help him. The second half shows how Jerry is able to surf this tide, and slowly win back some business, and in the process, some more time from his investors. There are long voice over scenes, where Jerry recalls his father’s wisdom. Even when he makes money, his mother reminds him that none of this is theirs, it all belongs to their investors.

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Even during this dark phase in the movie, there are fun, light hearted scenes and funny dialogues. Vineet inserts himself as another self made rich guy, who is the first to trust Jerry with a small business. Jerry gets a rare opportunity to diversify his business, and gets into travels too. There is another welcome cameo by Aju Varghese. Muthu, the youngest son of the family, is an absolute delight, and a little genius, per his teacher. And of course, the story takes place in Dubai, so there are many many scenes of the beautfiul city. The director intercuts the dark scenes with fun, humour and even a little stunts to keep the movie steady. There is no antagonist per se, but that charachter Murali Menon, looks scary ! He really looks like a baddie who can cause some damage.

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In the end, it all ends well. The family’s hard work pays off, they are able to pay back most of the money they owe, and buy sufficient time for the  remaining . Jacob is able to return to Kerala, and the whole family gets together. But we already knew this, they were going to get through. The movie is about their journey through hardships, and how they find strengh in each other.

  • Casting coup. The entire primary cast, and every other actor are fantastic in their roles. TG Ravi as the driver, Sai Kumar as an uncle. And again, Murali Menon played in such a bad ass way. But special points go to…
  • Renji Panikker. He plays a convincing self made successful patriach, the ideal head of the family. So when he falls, you feel his paint. Renji Panikker’s acting turns out better than his screen writing (from yesterdays..)
  • Nivin does a superb job playing the eldest son , thrust with all the responsibilites of looking after his family. His humour is still on track, and cries and emotes as well.
  • I was never a fan of Sreenath Basi, but turns out , this guy can actually act ! …if the charachter is wrtten for him. His deadpan humour contrasts Nivin’s, and gets to show off his singing skills as well.
  • Lakshmi Ramakrishnan plays a caring well doting mom in the first half, and a brave mom in the second half. Even when she scolds, there was laughter in the audience, looks like no one can fight with this one mom.
  • The cinematography and backgound music was awesome ! There is nice use of music throughout, lots of piano, strings..that first Onam song was fantastic ! It was nice of them to focus on Onam , even though the entire family is christian. Jomon T John surely knows his craft , and is improving with every movie.
  • Vineet Sreenivasan has finally arrived as a capable, and smart director. Most of his movies featured youngsters, but shows finesse telling a family entertainer story. I still feel is a better director than an actor. Maybe he should quit acting fully, because there is surely a shortage of good directors.
  • Dubai ! The scenes of the huge city play almost as another characther in the movie. Its only the last scenes which take place in Kerala, and you can finally feel the background shifting from a metopolitan city to green country side. They also satorize the sorry state of Indian roads, and KSRTC buses, an 50 years from now when you watch this movie again, that joke will still work.

 

Go out and watch this with your family. It could be the best family movie this year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Today is Back to the Future Day !!

 

Has it really been that many years ? It feels like just yesterday I was watching the 'Back to the Future' series on video cassette. And today is October 21, in the the future year 2015. The highlight of the movies series was of course its modern and stylish take on time travel, what better way to jump timelines than in a cool looking stylish car ? The first movie was about travelling back in time, but the second movie took it one step further ,and took the movie into the future. What would our future look like ? The scenes presented in the movie were really imaginative.  The world of 2015 had flying cars, and mini hovercraft skateboards, instant pizza, 3D movies, and tonnes and tonnes of advertising.

 

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Well, they got couple of those right, specially the advertising part. But watching the movie today is a little disappointing. Most of the movies predictions are yet to come true. Except for a few advancements in the area of real time communication and information sharing, nothing else has changed. Even in the most developed parts of the world, life is pretty much the same as it was in 1985. We have only got to flying drones, and they are still in legal trouble. Flying cars are couple of centuries away, IMHO. It is still a 9 to 6 day at the office, and the education and work systems are the same. The movies depict people in the future having more fun, but if anything today the world is more polar and divided than ever. There has been almost no progress in most aspects of life.

But coming back the the movie, this is a little gem for ages to come. I am sure that this movie will be enjoyed by anyone in the future, but more as a piece of history than anything else. Future generations would want to know what the 80s people thought of the future. And what their past was..in the 60s. The movie does not discuss the details of how that time travel is achieved, that's all taken for granted. Instead the focus is on fun, adventure and being careful not to change anything. For me, I am a 90s kid, I grew up during the 90s and this movie captures a little part of that fun growing up years. If I had that car today , I would dial in a year in the 1991 and decide never to come back.

 

 

 

Back To The Future Day Live: It's October 21, 2015 And The World Is Just As The Film Predicted (Sort Of)

It seems like wherever you go today, you'll see tepid Back to the Future jokes, including on this live blog!

What a glorious occasion!

It must be a bit confusing for those who have not watched the film.

09.05

Apparently Back to the Future Day is going on until tomorrow morning. It is unclear whether livebloggers will be expected to sit at their computers until then (a source says that she hopes that isn't the case).

This tweeter has pointed it out, apparently they actually went Back to the Future after midnight UK time.

Oh, and luckily for us, the DWP have chipped in with some 'banter' which is sure to make all of their many fans amused.

They wrote: ‘Pensions? Where we’re going we don’t need pensions…’ #DontIgnoreIt #BackToTheFuture http://www.workplacepensions.gov.uk/ "

And then on their image, they put "Erm, actually you do."

It's a bit of a weird joke.

08.50
Superfan explains why Back to the Future is so important

Back To The Future Superfan, Charlie Moore, explains why today is so important and what he will be doing to celebrate

08.30
Protesters park a DeLorean outside Parliament to protest the fact that hoverboards are illegal

Hoverboards have been made illegal to ride in public, along with Segways, and this has annoyed some fans of innovation.

We've received a press release from Project 42, who manufacture hoverboards.

Naturally, they are annoyed about the ban so they are parking a DeLorean outside Parliament and will have a Marty McFly lookalike on a modern day hoverboard.

Here is what they said:

"21st October 2015. That’s the date Marty McFly travelled 30 years into the future at the end of “Back to the Future.” He arrived in a world where a can of Pepsi costs $50 and where hoverboards were on every street corner.

"Today, Pepsi remains affordable but the dream of hoverboards seems further away than ever despite thousands of British consumers purchasing the self-balancing devices. On Sunday last week the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) outlawed ‘hoverboards’ and other self-balancing vehicles due to a law that was made in the 1835 Highways Act, 180 years ago!

"Project 42 (P42), a UK accelerator behind the UniWheel, one of the self-balancing products, has arranged for a genuine DeLorean to descend on the Houses of Parliament to highlight how this archaic law could stifle tech and innovative products that were once a dream. With the technology developing so quickly, only now has it become clear that this law will prevent people in the UK from experiencing their dreams and riding hoverboards."

08.18
Back to the Future: Its enduring appeal, and why it should never be remade

The University of Leicester has analysed the appeal of Back to the Future and has argued that it should never be remade (especially, perhaps, by Keith Lemon...)

Here's a snippet:

"In recent years, following the film’s cinema re-release for its 25th anniversary, Secret Cinema’s highly acclaimed immersive screenings of the first film, and technological developments such as Lexus’ hoverboard inspired by the films, the appeal of Back to the Future seems to be increasing. Perhaps this is because nostalgia for the film and its characters has not been affected by attempts to remake or re-boot the series. Unlike many other popular franchises of the 1980s such as Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters there are no plans to remake or extend the Back to the Future series.

"In fact its creators are set against the idea of a remake, with director Robert Zemeckis saying it could not happen until he and the film’s writer, Bob Gale, are dead – and hopefully not even then. In a rather grandiose claim, Zemeckis argued it would be like remaking Citizen Kane asking ‘What folly? What insanity is that?’ (Collins, 2015). But is he wrong to compare Back to the Future to, what is often thought of as, the greatest film of all time?"

07.58

Here are 13 things you may not know about the film franchise, kindly put together by tjhe experts on our Film team.

To start you off, apparently tt was almost called Spaceman From Pluto and Crispin Glover hated the ending...

07.48
The Surrey police force has got in on the action...

They're probably trying to get a few more followers, but their Photoshop skills are pretty impressive:

07:43
Marty McFly's back to the future trainers become reality

This video does what it says on the tin:

07.27

ITV 2 are showing all of the films today and the Keith Lemon Back To The Future trubute...

07.18
Police forces in Aus are trying to outdo each other

It's been Back to the Future Day in Australia for a little while now, and some police forces have attempted to get in on the action.

07.00 What's the plot?

Dr Emmett Brown takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to the future to prevent their kids from "ruining their lives".

Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel to in the screen classic's 1989 sequel<br /><br /><br />

After doing that, Marty buys a sports almanac for 1950-2000, thinking it might help him in his time. Doc finds out and throws it away, but 2015 Biff (now a very old man) finds the book and uses the DeLorean to give the almanac to his younger self.

When Marty and Jennifer arrive back to their own time, they find it has totally changed - Biff is very rich and practically owns the city, (sound familiar?). He is married Marty's mother, killed his dad, and when Marty starts to ask about the almanac, he wants to kill him too.

Doc also finds out that he was imprisoned in an asylum, so the two go back to 1955, the night of the Enchantment-Under-The-Sea party in an effort to take back the almanac.

What did 'Back to the Future II' get right about 2015?

While some of these “inventions” seem laughable, not all have fallen wide of the mark.

Big-screen televisions and video calls

The film features several scenes of characters watching screens very much like the oversize ones we actually use these days. That's saying something, because most TVs of the 1980s were heavy, square appliances with bulky picture tubes. Some of them even came in wood-grain cabinets like furniture!

Also, the "BTTF II" characters talk to the screens just like we do today. Not bad, given that videophones -- though long promised -- barely existed in 1989. With FaceTime and Skype now staples, the video call has evolved from a business medium to an essential of everyday life.

Earlier this year, Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru broke the world record for the longest hoverboard flight, standing on the back of a Omni Hoverboard, his homemade, propeller-powered vehicle. With its downward-thrusting propellers, powered by a dozen lithium polymer batteries, it looks like a military drone and floats like a giant swimming aid with a man on top.

In May, Duru flew his patent-pending piece of kit at a height of 16ft above a Quebec lake, for 300 yards, on a trip that lasted a minute and a half.

Duru is not the only engineer who believes we can fly. A California company used Kickstarter money to develop the Hendo Hoverboard, which uses electromagnets to zip above a metal floor, while car manufacturer Lexus recently unveiled a wheelless skateboard made from bamboo and carbon fibre fitted with a superconductor cooled by liquid nitrogen to enable it to levitate above magnetic flooring.

To celebrate the date Marty McFly arrived in the future, an advert for the ‘Hover master’ has been made by Universal.

Video glasses

The Back to the Future films also presaged wearable technology, such as wraparound glasses which Marty uses to answer and speak on the phone (Google Glass, anyone?). Microsoft's recently announced Hololensbears more then a passing resemblence to Junior's goggles.As Doc might say: “Great Scott!”

Self-tying shoes

Nike is promising to develop hi-top trainers with inbuilt motors so the laces do the hard work by themselves.

Nike's self-lacing trainers - available by the end of the year?

While we’re no nearer to a flying car than when the film was released in 1989, it got some things right. Biff, one of the series’ main characters, pays for a taxi ride with a thumb print – just like the fingerprint technology used on the iPhone 6 and cashless apps such as Uber, Hailo and Bounce.

Jaws 19 trailer has actually been released

A parody trailer for Jaws 19, the film seen in Back to the Future II, has been released

he scene in Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future II, released in 1989, when Marty McFly travels in his DeLorean to 2015? In the background, a cinema is advertising Jaws 19. It is an amusing detail; a sly dig at the increasing absursity of the (never-ending) Jaws sequels. But it could never really happen... could it?

What did Back to the Future II get wrong?
Flying cars powered by rubbish

We're not quite at the stage of seeing cars zip through the air - although this guy has given it a good go... And fossil fuels still power our cars despite electric making inroads. What price a flux capacitor. Can someone get Elon Musk on the video phone..?

Power clothing

Now this is one thing we wish 2015 had brought: jackets that dry themselves and shoes that lace themselves up. Look, no hands!

Fax machines

The film went a little too heavy on its predictions for fax machines, which it imagined would be everywhere in 2015. Fortunately, they're not

... And there's one key invention Back to the Future II missed out: smartphones and tablets, undeniably the most important technological breakthrough of the last decade. Apple didn't even get a look-in.

Might have come in handy when Marty and the Doc wanted to escape the future and head back to 1985.

06.45: It's here - at last!

Hello and welcome to our Back to the Future liveblog on October 21, 2015 - the date that Marty McFly and Dr Emmett “Doc” Brown chose to travel forward in time from 1985 in the hit sequel Back To The Future II.

According to the time-bending 1980s sci-fi flick, by October 21 2015, we would be living in a world of hoverboards, flying cars and self-tying shoelaces. And now that the day has actually arrived.

Back to the Future day october 21 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Nokia 1100 is Still the Biggest Selling Handset in the World

The world’s best selling phone is not the iPhone but something very old and not a smartphone at all? Remember the classic old Nokia 1100, the phone we all perhaps began with? While the iPhone 6 may have sold 71 million units in about three months, the numbers have nothing on the Nokia 1100.

 

The Nokia 1100 was an entry-level handset that came out in 2003. At the time it was perhaps the best thing to ever hit the mobile market. Lets consider this a 2003 post and talk of the specs that makes the phone a true badass. The handset does not come with two cameras, a curved screen or a snapdragon processor. What it does feature is a torch-light, a pair of no-slip grips, dust-proof case, monochrome graphic with, wait for it, 96 x 65 pixels, monophonic ringtones (36 pre-installed, 7 user-made), interchangeable covers, and an unbreakable will (we mean it).

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This smooth handset can also store up to 50 contacts and 50 messages (25 sent, 25 received) and gives a whopping 400 hours standby time between charges. But the one thing that really tied this phone together was Snakes II and Space Impact – those 8-bit games that were played by 250 million people around the world.

We say 250 million because that’s how many units of the Nokia 1100 were sold by 2008, becoming not only the world’s best selling phone, but also the best selling consumer electronics device. There are many reasons behind why the 1100 was the craze at the time. For one thing, the phone was highly affordable at about $100 with all the features mentioned above, which were all that one needed at the time.

Nokia 1100 (2)

The phone was discontinued in 2008 because of the next wave of phones that were coming in, However, in 2009, the obsolete device became something of a collectors item as they were being sold for obscene amounts of money – say $32,000 a piece.

But if you thought you had seen the last of the Nokia 1100, think again. There are rumors that the classic handset might come back with a technological makeover. In March this year, the Nokia 1100 was seen in a GeekBench’s database and suggested that the 2016 Nokia 1100 will feature a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT-6582 processor and will reportedly run on Android 5.0. However, this could all be an elaborate ruse by Nokia to use an old model since under the terms of its deal with Microsoft, Nokia cannot offer a new smartphone under the last quarter of 2016. It would be fun, though, to see what the 1100 would look like fitted with all the new toys today.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

There's something about Christmas

 

Aaah…the cool breeze, falling temperatures, steady coffee, and in my case, a running nose and sore throat: all signs that the current month is December. I like the weather cool, but its not the same the other way round. And December is probably my favourite month of the year. I used to go to a Christian missionary school, so we used to celebrate each and every Christian holiday on the calendar, specially Christmas. Initially I used to hate the festivities , being a Hindu myself, I could not relate to many traditions Christians followed. But I gradually realized that Christmas is not just about the Prayers and Churches and the fasting, the endless Bible reading. The spirit of Christmas was about caring , and sharing, and some enjoying a few comforts of life with near and dear ones. Nowhere can this spirit be better seen , than in Charles Dickens' legacy novel: A Christmas Carol.

Funny, this play has a special place in all of my Christmas holidays, I have read, watched or at least thought of this little story every Christmas. Every annual day, a portion of this story, or its entirety would be chosen for a play. The most popular section is without a doubt the part were the second ghost, the Ghost of Christmas present, shows Uncle Scrooge the Christmas dinner at the Cratchit house. Bob Cratchit, his employee, is very poor, draws an even poorer salary from Scrooge, but has a large family to feed. The Cratchit family comprises of him, his wife, three daughters, three sons, the youngest of which , Tiny Tim, is crippled. The Cratchits live a measerly life, and Christmas is probably the only time of the year they indulge, and this is the time the Ghost and Scrooge decides to visit them.

Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds; a feathered phenomenon, to which a black swan was a matter of course — and in truth it was something very like it in that house. Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast; but when she did, and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all round the board and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried Hurrah! -

There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of bone upon the dish), they hadn’t ate it all particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows! But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witness — to take the pudding up and bring it in.

Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose it should break in turning out! Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard, and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose — and supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid! All sorts of horrors were supposed.

Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that! That was the pudding! In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed by smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.

At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle.

These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed:

‘A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!’ Which all the family re-echoed.

‘God bless us every one!’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

The scene described is so vivid ! You can actually the whole family sitting down together for dinner together, helping each other, passing around small utensils, and slurping up every last morsel, with a cosy fire going in the fireplace nearby. The whole family shares what little they can afford, and makes sure everyone is properly fed and cared for. What more does one want ?

 

 

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Re-discovering Fountain Pens

 

The past some months have been very hectic, work at office keeps piling up, and its a similar story at home. Trust me, being married is like working on a second job, it just can't be neglected. As a part of some late-year house cleaning, I was re-arranging things at home when I opened some old shelves, and found a Parker fountain pen. It is a red bodied Vector with a piston for drawing ink, and was gifted to me by my father when he returned from Gulf two decades ago. Somewhere circa 1997~99. Made in UK, it says. And with it I got drawn once again to my fun filled school days.

                     

A simple google turned up endless blog posts of nostalgia, kids who grew up in the 90s had a special place of the fountain pens, lovingly called the ink pen (ironical, every pen has ink, fountain or not ). I could see bloggers typing on and on about those days when you had to load your fountain pen with ink, the same way today people charge their phones before heading out to school or office. Writing instruments have gone down a one way street, and smart pens and voice-to-text converters are in use today. But I long for the days men were men and carried their own fountain pens proudly in their shirt pockets.

So here is how we progressed in school: from the kindergarten days (LKG,UKG) to about 4th grad (or 4th standard), we Indian students were equipped with the trusty pencil and sharpener (which we used to call the cutter). Then about 5th grade, we were trusted to start using pens. The cheapest pens in the market were the disposable ball-point pens, the most popular I think was the stick-eazy pen, which could be bought for 2 rupees back then.

But schools used to insist that a good student no-only required good grades, but also a good handwriting to go with it. A legible handwriting in the cursive style was the hallmark of the Oxford academia, they used to say.  And the best way one could achieve that was to write using a fountain pen, in plain white 'unruled' notebooks. The challenge was to write on plain paper in straight lines , which none of us could do except some of the girls in class. Most often , our writing would go obliquely across the page which we attempted to compensate in the next line, and fail again. We needed practice. So we were encouraged to buy good ink pens and practise writing with them in plain sheets. This opened up an arsenal of sorts, because unlike ball point pens, which were identical and everyone had the same ones, fountain pens were distinctive and different. You could either buy a cheap unheard of Indian company like Bismi, Camel, Camlin..or you could go all in and buy the coveted Cadillac of fountain pens : Hero, Parker & Sheffer.

The chinese brand Hero was specially coveted, because it was extremely light weight to use and even easier to refill ink, and had  a longer mileage. Plus spare parts were easily available and interchangeable from other pens of the same company, and the nib was , well. smooooth. It gave the smoothest writing on paper, and the ink dried instantly without smudges. It was very common for us students to carry our pens in the shirt pockets of our white uniforms, but we would also forget to remove it when we ran for the bus, causing the ink to spill onto our shirts. Apart from the regular stuff taught in school, we also learned Pen-engineering, removing and changing of the nibs, bending and forking the nibs to "correct" the ink flow, and experimenting with different brands of inks. Often our inks would run out during our class, so we would switch to the reserve ballpoint pen, and even un-luckier ones would find the ink in the ballpens have dried up. Then we would start borrowing inks from neighbours, by transferring ink from theirs to our pens ! We would carry a piece of cotton for these emergencies in our pencil boxes, yes they were still called pencil boxes, even when they did not have any pencils, and a small piece of chalk, which instantly absorbed any ink spilled in the box or on our clothes. The Parker fountain pens had a beauty of their own, small, simple design, and just heavy enough to stand out, but ink flow was heavier, and would smudge our writing in the cheap school provided answer sheets. And the ink would run out an hour after lunch break. The Hero pens on the other hand, with their friction caps and hooded nibs were better engineered (we thought) and wrote longer, in sleek lines.

The good days didn't last though. During our 10th standard board exams  we found that the  government provided answer sheets were of even lower quality, and thus played safe with the ballpoint pens. Somewhere around this time, the Gel-pen entered the Indian market, you could have the convenience of the ball point and the output of the fountain pen. You could leave in in your pocket when you ran, and it wouldn't spill ! Amazing ! By highschool  , we were all converts and adopted the ballpoints for all our scribbling. Life had turned fast, there was no spare time to waste on refilling inks every night, and our handwriting was either improved or in  a complete mess. The teacher didn't care, there were no marks for beauty on the test paper. The new weapon of choice ?, the Cello Gripper:

The last fountain pen I used was a maroon colored Hero , with a funny looking unhooded nib, which I used in first year of Engineering college. It was broken when it fell from my pocket and broke cleanly in half, where the suction mechanism met the nib. After that it was all ball point pens for me, and after entering the computer programming profession, the only time I used pens was to jot down a phone number or to fill in application forms.

Well, this Parker has come back my way, and I am trying to find reasons to start using it during work. The ball pen was designed for quick brisk writing, they say. The fountain pen is for more relaxed , laid back and flowing writing. Has to. It needs special care and time of its own, something the modern office worker has very little of.