Big Hunt

You never know what a bit of impulsive hunting around might turn up. And by hunting, ladies and gents, we mean rummaging through tons of junk in search of vintage treasures. Confused? We are talking about sniffing around for old…fountain pens. Ever since the proverbial bug bit the impressionable ol’ Hipposaur, he was, as they say, never quite the same.

The Hipposaur suggests you follow the pink splotches on the map to score good deals. Click to enlarge. Image courtesy Google Maps

So one rather mundane Sunday morning (by morning we imply post 11:27 am) the Hipposaur boards a big blue bus down to Old City. Now the Old City in Hyderabad is one of those rare places that you will find a bi-weekly “chor-bazaar”, as its known here, a flea market, if you will. The market spans the area known as pathergatti till the approach to the Charminar and consists of hawkers setting up shop in makeshift plastic sheets.
What can you expect to find here? Well, ask and you shall be overwhelmed. From broken pieces of cassette tapes, wafer biscuits, telephone sets, bicycle wheels, heavy machinery to vintage collectibles, you’ll find it all here at the Sunday market. Need a charger for your cell phone for 20 bucks? Step right in. Have a fetish for collecting empty perfume bottles? This is the place to be. However, as the word goes, what you see is exactly what you get – no testing, no guarantees. Perchance you prefer the finer things in life, like shards of printed circuit boards, or keyboards without keys, the Sunday market fits the bill perfectly. But once in a while, with enough patience and a few hours at your disposal – you might just discover some authentic drool-worthy objects of desire. The Hipposaur, now having assumed the role of crazed fountain pen collector, at this point decides to jump in.


We spot him rummaging through what looks like bicycle bells and spectacle frames and lo and behold! A clean Parker 45 fountain pen – and the bloody thing works too! For 90 Rupees, he pockets the pen and strides on towards the swelling crowd. Towards Machli Kaman, the north gate of Charminar crossing, he encounters a bunch of shops under the building portico on the left. Yes, they stock pens. Yes the Hipposaur has no self restraint. Ergo, after rummaging around for some 50 minutes, he walks away with a Parker 21 with a broken filler and bent nib (Rs 100), a slightly brassed but smooth-as-hell Sheaffer Triumph Imperial (Rs 250) and (breathe in breathe out) a vintage Sailor pen with a cool 14 carat gold flexible nib (Rs 100…what?!).

And now, kids, for a bit of history. In 1911, a Japanese gentleman, by the name of Kyugoro Sakata was introduced to the fountain pen, as demonstrated by a British sailor who was passing by at that time. Now our man was so impressed by the design and function that he decided to start making such instruments in Japan, using local resources. Till date, the factory of the The Sailor Pen Company at Hiroshima still makes fine writing instruments that have acquired somewhat of a status overhaul in recent times. Now that you are wiser, relax and check out the picture of the Hipposaur’s “Sunday haul” (term courtesy Mr. Vinod Ekbote)

A pretty neat deal, eh? And come free with a moral lesson – patience not only pays, but unloads your rather impoverished wallet in no time.


Vinod Ekbote said...

Hey, great blog. I'm hooked and also pleased about the credit for 'Sunday Haul.' Tough to guess who you might be but I think I know now after reading the post on the Charminar market.


overturned blue shoe said...

bombay im sure is brimming with tonnes of such pens and more.quit your cumbersome existance and get a job in bombay!added attraction: great beef steak!!

Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...

That is the idea, eventually :) And from what I hear, Leopold's is a must do.

Sanchia said...

Go to Bombay, but please skip Leopold's! Apply hither if you want a good list.