Koi lauta de mujhe, beete huye pen!
Nondescript is not the right term to describe the Beena Magic fountain pen, though at first sight, it is the first term that comes to the mind. And there are good reasons either way – it is small, not in a puny kind of a way, but stalky small, a fact that is visually accentuated by the oval tapering of its clip. At first look, it resembles a street fighter from the Hollywood flicks of yore. A street fighter, as opposed to champion warrior – primarily because of the materials used.
A plastic black barrel, with a cap that looks like brushed steel and proudly sports the Beena name just above the trim. There is also an end cap, like those in piston-filler pens. The engineering, by the look of it, at least, is fairly decent. Not top-of-the-line, not stunning, just no-complaints type, decent. The crown of the cap matches the barrel in colour and the one thing that really draws the eye is the neatness and near perfection with which the Beena name is etched on the cap. One cannot but admire the obvious dexterity of the manufacturer who could imprint his name so well, on material so mundane – one is tempted to think, that the pen in hand is sure to be a good instrument.
And one would not have been wrong to think in those lines. For the pen that I have is certainly an exceptional one. For one, it sports a retractable nib. Now don’t ask me why the pen was made that way, but the fact remains – it is a pretty novel implement and never fails to attract the attention when one flashes it out and rolls open the nib before putting it on paper.
Secondly, the pen is very friendly, purely on considerations tactile and its weight is definitely on the lighter side. The fact that it sports a cartridge inside, adds to its lightness of being, apart from being a guard against and obviating messy ink leak issues.
And finally, it is a pleasure to write with. It had its “ink of kindness” flowing from the word go and one is again tempted to salute the obvious engineering skills that had gone into the making of the pen. It sports a two-tone, generic iridium nib, but what the heck? The quality of the pen is judged by its writing, right? And the Beena writes well. No blots, no like that in a sore throat, no unnatural friction – it writes well. Period.
Oh yes, the company that used to make these pens has folded up decades ago, unable to keep up to the onslaught of the throwaway’s. In its heydays, I am told, Beena was not only well known as a brand, but had a highly sought-after line that comprised of the Beena Chaplin and the Beena 500 among others. The entity was a preferred OEM associate to a host of so-called big names of the day and was, in the real sense of the term, a proud Indian maker of fine fountain pens.
Yes, it is a pity that it is not around no more. A pity that is confounded by the fact that we know so little about it – our callous apathy building a tome on the graveyard of empty slogans like Make in India. What makes matters worse is the fact that Beena pens are rarely available and still are not in the list of preferred possession of collectors. So much for our pride as a people. So much for our empty bluster about taking on the Chinese.
I had stumbled on my Beena Magic in ASA Pens website (http://asapens.in/eshop/vintage-new-old-stock-pens-online/beena-fountain-pen-india). Both the Beena Lincoln Piston Fountain Pen and the Beena Magic Cartridge Fountain Pens are available – they are NOS (New Old stock) quality and considering the fact that they are available at virtually throw away prices, I would recommend anyone with the inclination, to pick them up. For, time, tide and old India-made Fountain Pens wait for none.
Is there anyone out there who knows more about Beena Pens? Would you care to share your knowledge with us? The least that we do is pay our homage to the penmanship our ancestors, to our proud legacies?
Please feel free to add your comments.