A Tribute to Pune’s Kale Pens

Oh, the sheer joy of writing with a smooth Fountain Pen!

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One of my biggest and the most beautiful transition of school life was shifting from a pencil to a fountain pen. Writing with it, just holding it, made me feel important. There’s something quite inexplicable about holding a fountain pen, isn’t it? The feel of holding the body, running a thumb across the nib to check if it needs refilling…. these are memories for all of us.

Fountain Pen Pune

With several innovations transpiring in the writing and accessories industry, the fountain pen feels like a piece of history now. All of the fountain pens are collectibles; people actually pay a very good price for these pens depending on their brand and the year of manufacturing. Personally, I wish we could bring back those days. Doing things the classic way- with much more style and regality.

Kale Pens Pune
Source – The Quint | Siddharth Mohan Nair

However, our city has one name which hasn’t given up on these fountain pens, and thank god for that. Kale Pens is a shop which our parents know all too well, and we should too. It’s quite easy to miss this shop as it’s located right near Dagdusheth Ganpati- the area is always bustling with activity. The owner of the shop is Mr. Arjun Kale, son of the founder, Late Mr. Dattatreya Kale.

Kale Pens
Mr. Arjun Kale | Source, The Quint | Siddharth Mohan Nair

The saddest part however, is that Kale Pens doesn’t sell fountain pens anymore. With the apparent decline in the pen industry, it was obviously very hard to sustain on the pen sales. Kale Pens still sells inks and nibs, so all is not lost! The most amazing thing, though, is that they don’t sell their ink in containers or bottles like famous brands do- they sell it in plastic bags which are sealed tightly, and you can see and smell their amazing ink!

Kale Pens Ink
Source – Soham Sabnis

The prices are still so humble and quite frankly, hard to believe. Until last year, they sold their pens for 10 bucks a piece. Their 100 ml ink sachet is sold for 5 bucks. During the glory days, the owner would display the different colored models and the customer would choose their favorite one. Mr Kale would then assemble the pen right in front of their eyes. These days, it’s a very sad affair; the customers are few and the stock rarely gets depleted.

With several branded pens and stationery items now in the market, it’s pretty clear that this small yet humble pen shop is fast approaching its last breath. A tragic end of an era; all good things must end unfortunately. However, their pens will still etch fond memories in our minds and hearts. Should we ever forget what Pune was before it got branded, holding a pen from the Kale Pens shop should do the trick of nostalgia.

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