One of my colleagues who was sitting just across the table squinted at the pen and when the penny finally dropped, with the most curious of expressions drawn across her face, she said "Is that a China pen in your hands?". Fact was, it was. What was even more surprising was that someone actually recognised it as such.
(Note: As the pen originally comes from The Shanghai Hero Pen factory, it is commonly referred to as the China pen or the Hero pen).
My love affair with the Hero 332 began way back in primary school. My mom got me one of these when school year started. Thankfully, back then, the choice was limited and it didn't drive Mom crazy to source a simple pen that did the job. After a few failed attempts to get the right coloured ink for the pen, my grandfather suggested I use the Blue-Black variety of ink. Black looked good, but school authorities had absolute rules on the use of black ink and blue seemed too bubble-gum like. Blue-black it was then.
Given that we were unable to use those terrible ball-point pens until our SSC year, ink pens were all the rage. And for good reason as well. Ball-point pens have a consistency like a certain middle-order Indian cricketer these days. Shocking and embarrasing. Wonder what sets the SSC as any different to other years. Any year, we were writing/scribbling away the same amount of stuff anyways. Anyways, I digress.
Everything about the Hero pen suggests class. The plain-yet-elegant looks, the fine nib, the smooth ink flow. Although it took a good 7-8 dips into the ink pot to quench it's thirst, it was well worth it. From the day I started using the pen, it has performed exactly the same. No big blotches, no sudden spills, no cranky abrasions or designs on paper.
Photo courtesy: Google images
I've used the pen for writing 3 hour exams. I've even used it for 3 hour exams, writing native languages. I may have broken into a sweat thinking of the answers to the questions, but the pen didn't. It kept going and creating wonderful designs on paper. Friends have begged, borrowed and stolen other pens I've owned, but I've fought tooth and nail (and nib) to keep in my possession this little beauty.
I also penned (for the lack of a better word) various essays at school, including 'Autobiography of a pen' using the Hero. The essay told the story of a simple but ambitious pen and it's journey through the scrolls of life.
I stuck with the Hero throughout junior college, only occasionally drifting to the ball-point cousins for limited usage.
I put the Hero to its test at University and it graduated with merits.
I looked back at my colleague and nodded in the affirmative. Yes, this was the simple, yet stunningly effective China pen that I use. Even today. Regularly.