the hybrid pen

Back when I was in school, my father brought me two “Hero” pens. One brown and one green. Soon enough, the barrel of the brown pen was broken, and the nib of the green pen followed presently. I put made use of what was later to be called as ‘Genetic Algorithms’ and continued working. I don’t know what I did with the spare cap though. The cap was once shiny gold in colour, but through constant biting and chewing, it’s become quite dull now.

Two years later, I decided to classify this pen as my “lucky pen”, based on one data point. I had used it to write my IIT JEE. Everything I did that day became lucky. The navy blue shirt. MES College. The breakfast (onion upma). The car in which I traveled to the venue. The Sankey tank route to Malleswaram. All based on just one data point. It was some eight years before I read Taleb.

I continued using this green-and-brown contraption. Surprisingly, the remaining nib and barrel seemed to have been made of sterner material, and the pen continued giving sustained performance. People used to give me strange looks when I took back bottles of Bril ink from Gurunath. People stopped borrowing the pen from me. And then I came to know that CAT is to be written with a pencil.

I remember at least two girls stating their amazement that I used to use a fountain pen. And I subjected both of them to the above story of the pen (of course I hadn’t read Taleb when I told them these stories). And subsequently, I hit on both these women. I don’t have any more data on this but I’m not sure that the reason I hit on these women was because they had listened to the story of my pen.

The pen lost its importance when I found that the student-run store at IIMB didn’t stock ink. I forgot about it, its luck having been exhausted some four years earlier. I assumed I had thrown it away. Or that it had broken again. Or that I’d left it in my room when I cleared out of IIMB. But for the luck that I thought this pen has contributed in my life, I would have even completely forgot about it.

Hero pens have become cool again recently, thanks to the new Vodafone ad. The one where one kid lends the other some ink (which is promptly sucked up by the Hero pen). I wonder if this ad is also leading more kids to use a fountain pen. I must admit, though, that it’s unlikely I’ll use a fountain pen again. I found that old green-brown pen two weeks back while cleaning my desk, and as expected there is no ink in it. And I’m not sure if i’m going to buy ink just to resurrect something that I’d classified as “lucky” based on one data point.

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